A new UNICEF report has warned 600 million children (1 in 4) will live in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040.
According to Thirsting for a future – water and children in a changing climate, extremely high levels of water stress are currently being experienced in 36 countries; water stress occurs when demand for water exceeds the renewable supply available. Extreme water stress is deemed to have occurred when 80 percent of water for agriculture, industry, and domestic use is withdrawn. If climate change continues on its current trajectory, more countries will be affected by extreme water stress, and more children – in fact, 235 million children in South Asia, 133 million children in East Asia and the Pacific region and 100 million children in the Middle East will be affected.
The report also warns that warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, increased floods, droughts and melting ice, population growth, increased water consumption, conflicts, industrialization and urbanization are affecting the quality and availability of water as well as sanitation systems.
As usual, it is children who do and who will bear the brunt. Many children spend hours a day getting water hindering them from being able to able to attend school. Girls are especially vulnerable to attacks during this time, women and girls spend 200 million hours collecting water every day.
Read the report here: UN056670