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University of Phoenix Science 256 People Science and the Environment Resource Shortage Paper 7Feb05 Resource 2 Awareness is growing that water is a renewable but scarce and precious resource which must be carefully managed if future water crises are to be avoided Water is vital to all life and central to all efforts to eliminate poverty However there are still over a billion people living without access to safe water supplies and sanitation is minimal for over one third of the planets population Freshwater ecosystems are in a poor state of health in many parts of the world Other challenges exist where surface and groundwater resources are stressed in many places by over abstraction and pollution In many communities particularly among the rural poor families spend a very high proportion of time andor income obtaining water to meet basic needs A growing scarcity and competition for water in quantity and quality threatens advances in poverty eradication public health and food production One in five developing countries will face water shortages by 2030 The Near East North Africa and parts of Asia are subject now to water scarcity and stress According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization agriculture is by far the biggest water user accounting for some 70 percent of all water withdrawals In comparison industry accounts for 20 percent while domestic use is limited to 10 percent Business-as-usual will not meet the needs of those currently un-served let alone ensuring water for a burgeoning population that could grow by as many as two billion more people in the next 25 years It will be difficult to achieve water security unless the commitment is made the resources are provided and all stakeholders including those who are currently powerless are involved in decision-making over allocation use and benefit Meeting the minimum targets of global water security by 2025 is estimated to Resource
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