UN: In 2050, 5 Billion People may have Difficulty Accessing Water

More than five billion people could have difficulty accessing water in 2050, the UN warned on Tuesday, urging leaders to take the initiative at the COP26 summit.

As early as 2018, 3.6 billion people had inadequate access to water for at least a month a year, according to a new report by the UN World Meteorological Organization.

"We need to wake up because of the impending water crisis," WCO chief Peter Taalas told AFP.

The State of Climate Services 2021: Water report comes just weeks before COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

The WMO stressed that over the last 20 years, the levels of water stored on land - on the surface, in underground layers, in snow and ice - have been falling at a rate of one centimeter per year. The biggest losses are in Antarctica and Greenland, but many settlements in lower latitudes are experiencing significant water losses in areas that traditionally provide water, the WMO said.

The agency said it has major implications for water security, as only 0.5 percent of the Earth's water is usable and accessible fresh water.

"Rising temperatures are leading to global and regional changes in rainfall, leading to a change in rainfall patterns and agricultural seasons, with a major impact on food security, human health and well-being," Taalas said.

Meanwhile, water hazards have become more common over the past 20 years. Since 2000, flood-related disasters have increased by 134% compared to the previous two decades.

"We have seven percent higher humidity in the atmosphere due to the current warming and this is also contributing to the floods," Taalas told a news conference. Most of the...

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