Experts warn of growing water crisis in world's major cities

English.news.cn   2011-03-29 14:16:30 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Maja Wallengren

MEXICO CITY, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Major cities worldwide may face a water shortage crisis by 2050 if relevant governments don't react quickly, experts with a leading environmental group said Monday.

The water shortage will mostly affect basic daily needs such as drinking, cooking, bathing and washing clothes, and the poor residents of the world's major cities in developing countries are the ones who will suffer most, the experts warned.

"By 2050, big cities that will not have enough water available nearby include Beijing, New Delhi, Mexico City, Lagos and Tehran. China and India will be particularly hard hit unless significant new efforts are taken by their cities," Robert McDonald, a scientist with the Washington-based Nature Conservancy, told Xinhua in an interview.

McDonald and Carmen Revenga, another scientist from the Nature Conservancy, are the co-authors of a new study -- "Billions of City Dwellers in Water Shortage by 2050?"

They warned if cities don't increase efforts to resolve the world's growing water crisis, several of the key United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UNMDGs) won't be achieved.

McDonald said more than 1 billion people are likely to suffer chronic water shortage on a daily basis by 2050, while more than 3 billion more will suffer water shortage at least for one month every year.

"Ten years ago we had 1.5 billion people in the world without access to clean drinking water, and today we talk about 800 million, so we have made very good progress on the UN Millennium Goals," McDonald said. However, he warned that this positive trend could easily be reversed.

"The thing I am really worried about is how the poorest cities, which already have trouble delivering clean drinking water to their citizens, are going to be able to afford to get water to their residents. Unless new capital is available for investment, the problem will get worse," McDonald said.

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Editor: Wang Guanqun
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