UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that humanity is at risk of a global shortage of clean water that will only worsen in the coming years.
“We have broken the water cycle, destroyed ecosystems and polluted groundwater,” Guterres said at the start of a three-day conference in New York to discuss the world’s fresh water sources.
“We are draining humanity’s bloodstream through vampire consumption and the unsustainable use of water that is evaporating due to global warming,” he added.
It is the first major UN meeting since 1977 where water will be discussed exclusively. Dozens of ministers and several leaders of countries are participating, who will not make any significant agreement, but will vote on a non-binding action plan.
Climate problems and economic hardships linked to pollution are making drinking water more difficult to obtain, according to the World Water Report released ahead of the conference.
It is estimated that ten percent of the world’s population lives in countries at high or critical risk of water scarcity.
According to another UN report, global water consumption should increase by about one percent by 2050, similar to the past 40 years.
In poorer countries, the risk mainly concerns poor water quality, and in industrialized countries water consumption in agriculture is problematic.
Due to the climate crisis, certain regions are significantly exposed to extreme and prolonged droughts, which has serious consequences for plant and animal life, experts warn.