According to a flagship report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) around 1.2 billion people globally experienced very high levels of water stress.
Nearly half of the 1.2 billion people lived in south Asia, while 460 million lived in east and southeast Asia.
In central Asia, west Asia and north Africa, about one-fifth of the population lived in agricultural areas with very high water shortages or scarcity.
In Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, north America and Oceania, only 1–4 per cent lived in extremely water-constrained areas. In sub-Saharan Africa, only about five per cent of the population lived in affected areas.
In terms of agricultural land affected, 128 million hectares of rain-fed cropland and 656 million hectares of pastureland faced frequent droughts, while 171 million hectares of irrigated cropland were subject to high or very high water stress.
In other words, about 11 per cent of rain-fed cropland and 14 per cent of pastureland experienced severe recurring droughts, while more than 60 per cent of irrigated cropland was highly water-stressed.
More than 62 million hectares of cropland and pastureland experienced both, severe water stress and drought frequency, affecting about 300 million people.
The report also noted that the annual amount of available freshwater resources per person had declined by more than 20 per cent in the past two decades.
Q. What is the state of India ‘s water crisis?
India is currently facing the biggest crisis in its history. And no, it’s not COVID-19. India is suffering from one of the world’s worst national water crises. In fact, it is considered the center of the global water and sanitation crisis.
More than 50% of the population has no access to safe drinking water and about 200,000 people die every year for lack of access to safe water.
The 2018 Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) noted that 6% of economic GDP will be lost by 2050, while water demand will exceed the available supply by 2030.
Food supply is also at risk as areas for wheat cultivation and rice cultivation face extreme water scarcity.