Today I heard on the radio that only 1 litre of water will be available per person by year 2090. If there is plenty of seawater present on our earth and there are processes like desalination and distillation for making seawater usable/drinkable , then why is it said that there is scarcity of water??

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    Do you have any more context on what exactly was meant by 1 litre of water per person? Without context, that's not a very meaningful statement.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 9:50
  • @gerrit No. But I think that it meant only 1 litre of water will be available per person for daily use whereas the actual requirement is 3.7 litres for males and 2.7 for female. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:03
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    What is your source for those 3.7L / 2.7 L numbers? Humans use far more water than that, considering the full chain into every product they use and consume.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:11
  • @gerrit I guess that number is only for intake of water through drinking or food. The actual requirement is much more. I am just confused that why is there such scarcity of water if technology exists for using seawater. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:48
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    I fear this question will be very difficult to answer because neither of us knows exactly what was meant.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 11:12

3 Answers 3


There is no global scarcity of water.

Some areas have a scarcity of potable water per person.

There are several ways to fix that:

  • Move the people to where there's sufficient potable water for them.
  • Move the potable water to where the people are.
  • Take the water that is where the people are, and make it potable.

Any of these things can be done sustainably. The technology is easy. It's a matter of taking the political decision to do the appropriate allocation of resources.

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    I haven't looked into it recently, but it seems last I heard, desalination at scale is very costly and energy intensive, and thus not sustainable. What technology for this are you thinking of?
    – LShaver
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 1:18
  • Well, neither cost nor energy intensity say much useful about whether something is sustainable or not.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 6:16
  • True. I guess my question is actually: has desalination gotten cheap enough to be preferred over rerouting rivers and depleting the water table?
    – LShaver
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 7:03
  • In some parts of the world, yes; in others, no.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 9:50
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    @Jasmeetsingh depletion of a water table is a local issue. A drying-up of a river might be global climate change or local changes. I don't know what it means to say that "water is becoming a non-renewable resource". Maybe it needs more context; but on its own, it's incorrect.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 16:27

Scarcity of water is a geopolitical issue. It's not water we're running out of it's fresh, clean water. Scarcity is the byproduct of lack of sanitation to keep the water clean for re-use.

Peak Potable water? The emphasis being that the rate of water demand per day exceeds natural aquafer's capacity to take or gravity powered systems where water comes from river systems...........

All of these experts are all predicting wars will break out over resources. Typically the one they talk of most is water. But the supposed water wars of the future will never erupt. Water is too heavy and dense a substance. A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds, so transporting it accounts for most of the costs, so the idea of these Mad Max style thugs running off with water jugs is ridiculous, they would have to drink a lot of it sweating from the workout carrying it. It's simply not cost effective to do it in the long run compared to spending the money/resources on developing new supplies of potable water. A month's worth of fighting between Israel and neighboring nations over water sources would be more costly than if Israel built several desalination plants and ran them for a year producing billions of surplus gallons.

Human activity consumed 3000 cubic kilometers of water in the year 2000, up from 600 cubic km in 1900. Yet the world contains 1.38 billion cubic kilometers of water, 461,000 times more water than we currently use. Since future demands for water coincide with a future growing GDP, water access and cleanliness will increase in the future not decrease. Desalination is expensive no doubt but recycling waste water is less expensive than desalination.


Third world populations grew faster than their carrying capacity. Thus, there are water shortages in some areas. There are also cases where one country seizes critical resources from another, e.g. Zionist control of the Jordan River and Golan water sources.

There is no real water shortage in the first world. There is only a shortage in the sense that it costs more money to water your lawn in Arizona.

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