Causes Of Water Scarcity

Table of Contents

The causes of water scarcity are aplenty. However, we must first understand the term water scarcity.

Water scarcity refers to the situation where potable, unpolluted water is lower than the demand in a region.

According to recent reports, nearly 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Furthermore, water shortages can cause a variety of illnesses which can range from food poisoning to cholera. 

Typically, water scarcity is driven by two important factors – which are the increasing use of freshwater and the depletion of usable freshwater resources. Furthermore, scarcity can be of two types – physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity. Physical water scarcity is caused when a natural water resource is unable to meet the demands of a particular region. Economic water scarcity is caused by the mismanagement of sufficiently available water resources. However, there are a lot more causes of water shortage:

Major Causes of Water Scarcity

Following are some of the major causes of water shortage:

  • Climate change
  • Natural calamities such as droughts and floods
  • Increased human consumption
  • Overuse and wastage of water
  • A global rise in freshwater demand
  • Overuse of aquifers and its consequent slow recharge

Water Stress

When an individual is water-stressed, it implies that there is no sufficient access to potable water. An estimated 1.1 billion people are under water stress. In countries such as Africa, a large percentage of individuals have no easy access to fresh water. One of the most common methods of acquiring freshwater is by digging holes in riverbeds. 

The scarcity of water can also cause water pollution. For instance, if inadequate water is available for sanitation, water gets polluted through the introduction of disease-causing pathogens. In fact, 88% of all water-borne diseases are caused this way. Furthermore, water scarcity can cause an imbalance in the ecosystem. Food chains are affected, and biodiversity is harmed.

To explore more causes of water scarcity or other related information, explore BYJU’S Biology.

Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions


How serious is the water crisis?

According to UNICEF, by 2025 half of the places in this world will be living with insufficient water.


Which country has the worst water crisis?

Eastern and Southern Africa have the least access to drinking water.


How can we battle the water crisis?

We can save water by recycling, increasing awareness, improving agricultural water use, implying new conservation technologies, rainwater harvesting and many more.

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