We can see the fresh water catastrophe coming, but will we do enough in time to avert it? This video lays out the problem:
According to the video, these cities are on the brink of a fresh water crisis unless action is taken:
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Melbourne, Australia
- Mexico City
Other well known problem areas are dry places like Las Vegas, Saudi Arabia (and many other desert areas in the Middle East and Africa), parts of China and India, etc. These places currently rely on aquifers that are going to soon be empty.
Some of the large urban areas are coastal so they will eventually resort to mass desalination (with its own pollution and energy problems, but better than dying of thirst), but a place like Mexico City or Las Vegas may not be so lucky.
This article paints a dire picture:
Water shortages are now affecting more than 3 billion people around the world, as the amount of fresh water available for each person has plunged by a fifth over two decades, data has shown. About 1.5 billion people are suffering severe water scarcity or even drought, as a combination of climate breakdown, rising demand and poor management has made agriculture increasingly difficult across swathes of the globe.
With human populations continuing to rise, the problems only get worse unless something causes the human population to crash.
One possible solution is purely economic. Municipal water in a place like Las Vegas might be a penny per gallon today. If it rises to 50 cents or a dollar per gallon, then people will treat water differently. It might mean the end of golf courses and giant artificial lakes in the desert: