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Historic World Water Summit Kicks Off in New York

The World Summit on Freshwater opens this Wednesday, March 22 for two days in New York (United States). The last United Nations conference on this major subject dates back to 1977.

This Wednesday, March 22, the World Summit on Freshwater opens in New York (United States). Thus, a hundred ministers and a dozen heads of state and government are meeting until Friday to find solutions. This is the first international meeting on this subject since 1977.

Under the pressure of overconsumption and climate change, water shortages “tend to become widespread”, posing an “imminent risk” of a global water crisis.

According to a report by UN-Water and UNESCO, some 2 billion people are deprived of access to drinking water and 3.6 billion do not have access to safely managed sanitation services .

An alarming new IPCC report

According to the latest report by UN climate experts, the IPCC, published on Monday, “about half of the world’s population” suffers from “serious” water shortages for at least part of the year.

Indeed, the use of water has increased by 1% per year in the world over the past 40 years. About 10% of the world’s population lives in a country where water stress, or the ratio of water use to availability, has reached a high or critical level, “significantly” limiting water availability.

According to the World Bank, these water shortages reinforced by climate change could cost in some regions up to 6% of GDP by 2050 due to impacts on agriculture, health, incomes, and potentially forced migrations and even conflicts.

An increasingly worrying state of drought

With global warming, the humidity in the atmosphere increases by about 7% for each additional degree, leading to more, more intense and less regular precipitation.

Between 2000 and 2019, floods are estimated to have caused $650 billion in damage, affected 1.65 billion people and caused more than 100,000 deaths, according to the report.

Warming also multiplies droughts which, over the same period, affected 1.43 billion people and caused 130 billion dollars in damage.

France has not been spared by the drought. On March 13, the Geological and Mining Research Bureau (BRGM) noted a significant “degradation” of groundwater in the territory. As a reminder, the month of February was the 4th driest in France since 1959 with in particular a record series of 32 days without precipitation.

Together, droughts and floods account for more than 75% of natural disasters experienced by humanity.

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