The world's supplies of clean, fresh water cannot sustain growing use and inadequate management. The result has been shrinking food supplies and rising food costs in many countries.
Many of the world's irrigation areas are already highly stressed and drawing more water than rivers and groundwater reserves can sustain. At the same time freshwater food reserves are declining in the face of unsustainable water extractions from rivers.
Sanitation is a problem as well. As developing countries confront the first global food crisis since the 1970’s, as well as unprecedented water scarcity, a new 53 city survey indicates that 80 percent of cities studied are using untreated or partially treated wastewater for agriculture. In over 70 percent of the cities studied, more than half of urban agricultural land is irrigated with wastewater that is either raw or diluted in streams.
* Environmental News Service August 18, 2008