Jstor: Access Check - Population Control: Is It A Tool Of The Rich

As the world population reaches seven billion people, the BBC's Mike Gallagher asks whether efforts to lớn control population have been, as some critics claim, a size of authoritarian control over the world's poorest citizens.

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The temperature is some 30C. The humidity stifling, the noise unbearable. In a yard between two enormous tea-drying sheds, a number of dark-skinned women patiently sit, each accompanied by an unwieldy looking cloth sack. They are clad in colourful saris, but look tired & shabby. This is hardly surprising - they have spent most of the day in nearby plantation fields, picking tea that will net them around two cents a kilo - barely enough lớn feed their large families.

Vivek Baid thinks he knows how to lớn help them. He runs the Mission for Population Control, a project in eastern India which aims khổng lồ bring down high birth rates by encouraging local women lớn get sterilised after their second child.

As the world reaches an estimated seven billion people, people like Vivek say efforts to lớn bring down the world's population must continue if life on Earth is to be sustainable, & if poverty và even mass starvation are khổng lồ be avoided.

There is no doubting their good intentions. Vivek, for instance, has spent his own money on the project, and is passionate about creating a brighter future for India.

But critics allege that campaigners lượt thích Vivek - a successful & wealthy male businessman - have tended to live very different lives from those they seek lớn help, who are mainly poor women.

These critics argue that rich people have imposed population control on the poor for decades. And, they say, such coercive attempts to control the world's population often backfired and were sometimes harmful.

Most historians of modern population control trace its roots back lớn the Reverend Thomas Malthus, an English clergyman born in the 18th Century who believed that humans would always reproduce faster than Earth's capacity to feed them.

Giving succour to the resulting desperate masses would only imperil everyone else, he said. So the brutal reality was that it was better to lớn let them starve.

Rapid agricultural advances in the 19th Century proved his main premise wrong, because food production generally more than kept pace with the growing population.

But the idea that the rich are threatened by the desperately poor has cast a long shadow into the 20th Century.

From the 1960s, the World Bank, the UN and a host of independent American philanthropic foundations, such as the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, began to focus on what they saw as the problem of burgeoning Third World numbers.

The believed that overpopulation was the primary cause of environmental degradation, economic underdevelopment và political instability.

Massive populations in the Third World were seen as presenting a threat khổng lồ Western capitalism và access to lớn resources, says Professor Betsy Hartmann of Hampshire College, Massachusetts, in the US.

"The view of the south is very much put in this Malthusian framework. It becomes just this powerful ideology," she says.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson warned that the US might be overwhelmed by desperate masses, & he made US foreign aid dependent on countries adopting family planning programmes.

Other wealthy countries such as Japan, Sweden & the UK also began to devote large amounts of money khổng lồ reducing Third World birth rates.

What virtually everyone agreed was that there was a massive demand for birth control among the world's poorest people, and that if they could get their hands on reliable contraceptives, runaway population growth might be stopped.

But with the benefit of hindsight, some argue that this so-called unmet need theory put disproportionate emphasis on birth control & ignored other serious needs.


"It was a top-down solution," says Mohan Rao, a doctor và public health expert at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"There was an unmet need for contraceptive services, of course. But there was also an unmet need for health services and all kinds of other services which did not get attention. The focus became contraception."

Had the demographic experts worked at the grass-roots instead of imposing solutions from above, suggests Adrienne Germain, formerly of the Ford Foundation & then the International Women's Health Coalition, they might have achieved a better picture of the dilemmas facing women in poor, rural communities.

"Not to have a full mix of health services meant women were either unable khổng lồ use family planning, or unwilling to - because they could still expect half their kids khổng lồ die by the age of five," she says.

In 1968, the American biologist Paul Ehrlich caused a stir with his bestselling book, The Population Bomb, which suggested that it was already too late to save some countries from the dire effects of overpopulation, which would result in ecological disaster and the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in the 1970s.

Instead, governments should concentrate on drastically reducing population growth. He said financial assistance should be given only khổng lồ those nations with a realistic chance of bringing birth rates down. Compulsory measures were not khổng lồ be ruled out.

Western experts và local elites in the developing world soon imposed targets for reductions in family size, and used military analogies to drive home the urgency, says Matthew Connelly, a historian of population control at Columbia University in New York.

"They spoke of a war on population growth, fought with contraceptive weapons," he says. "The war would entail sacrifices, và collateral damage."

Such language betrayed a lack of empathy with their subjects, says Ms Germain: "People didn't talk about people. They talked of acceptors & users of family planning."

Karan Singh, India's health minister at the time, declared that "development is the best contraceptive".

But just a year later, Mr Singh's government presided over one of the most notorious episodes in the history of population control.

In June 1975, the Indian premier, Indira Gandhi, declared a state of emergency after accusations of corruption threatened her government. Her son Sanjay used the measure to introduce radical population control measures targeted at the poor.

The Indian emergency lasted less than two years, but in 1975 alone, some eight million Indians - mainly poor men - were sterilised.

And where they did not, it arguably had less to bởi with coercive population control than with development, just as Karan Singh had argued in 1974, says historian Matt Connelly.

For example, in India, a disparity in birth rates could already be observed between the impoverished northern states và more developed southern regions like Kerala, where women were more likely khổng lồ be literate & educated, và their offspring more likely khổng lồ be healthy.

Women there realised that they could have fewer births and still expect to see their children survive into adulthood.

By now, this phenomenon could be observed in another country too - one that would nevertheless go on khổng lồ impose the most draconian population control of all.

The One Child Policy is credited with preventing some 400 million births in China, và remains in place khổng lồ this day. In 1983 alone, more than 16 million women và four million men were sterilised, and 14 million women received abortions.

Assessed by numbers alone, it is said khổng lồ be by far the most successful population control initiative. Yet it remains deeply controversial, not only because of the human suffering it has caused.

A few years after its inception, the policy was relaxed slightly khổng lồ allow rural couples two children if their first was not a boy. Boy children are prized, especially in the countryside where they provide labour and care for parents in old age.

But modern công nghệ allows parents to lớn discover the sex of the foetus, and many choose lớn abort if they are carrying a girl. In some regions, there is now a serious imbalance between men và women.

Moreover, since Chinese fertility was already in decline at the time the policy was implemented, some argue that it bears less responsibility for China's falling birth rate than its supporters claim.

"I don't think they needed to bring it down further," says Indian demographer AR Nanda. "It would have happened at its own slow pace in another 10 years."

In the early 1980s, objections lớn the population control movement began khổng lồ grow, especially in the United States.

In Washington, the new Reagan administration removed financial support for any programmes that involved abortion or sterilisation.

The broad alliance to lớn stem birth rates was beginning to dissolve và the debate become more polarised along political lines.

While some on the political right had moral objections lớn population control, some on the left saw it as neo-colonialism.

Faith groups condemned it as a Western attack on religious values, but women's groups feared changes would mean poor women would be even less well-served.

By the time of a major UN conference on population and development in Cairo in 1994, women's groups were ready to lớn strike a blow for women's rights, and they won.

The conference adopted a 20-year plan of action, known as the Cairo consensus, which called on countries lớn recognise that ordinary women's needs - rather than demographers' plans - should be at the heart of population strategies.

Today's record-breaking global population hides a marked long-term trend towards lower birth rates, as urbanisation, better health care, education and access to family planning all affect women's choices.

With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa và some of the poorest parts of India, we are now having fewer children than we once did - in some cases, failing even lớn replace ourselves in the next generation. Và although total numbers are set lớn rise still further, the peak is now in sight.


Assuming that this trend continues, total numbers will one day cấp độ off, & even fall. As a result, some believe the sense of urgency that once surrounded population control has subsided.

The term population control itself has fallen out of fashion, as it was deemed khổng lồ have authoritarian connotations. Post-Cairo, the talk is of women's rights & reproductive rights, meaning the right lớn a không lấy phí choice over whether or not khổng lồ have children.

"I have a profound conviction that if you give women the tools they need - education, employment, contraception, safe abortion - then they will make the choices that benefit society," she says.

"If you don't, then you'll just be in an endless cycle of trying to lớn exert control over fertility - to lớn bring it up, to lớn bring it down, to lớn keep it stable. Và it never comes out well. Never."

Nevertheless, there remain khổng lồ this day schemes to sterilise the less well-off, often in return for financial incentives. In effect, say critics, this amounts to lớn coercion, since the very poor find it hard to lớn reject cash.

"The people proposing this argue 'Don't worry, everything' s fine now we have voluntary programmes on the Cairo model'," says Betsy Hartmann.

"But what they don't understand is the profound difference in nguồn between rich và poor. The people who provide many services in poor areas are already prejudiced against the people they serve."

For Mohan Rao, it is an example of how even the Cairo consensus fails khổng lồ take tài khoản of the developing world.

"Cairo had some good things," he says. "However Cairo was driven largely by First World feminist agendas. Reproductive rights are all very well, but a whole lot of other kinds of enabling rights before women can access reproductive rights. You need rights khổng lồ food, employment, water, justice và fair wages. Without all these you cannot have reproductive rights."

If he were to write his book today, "I wouldn't focus on the poverty-stricken masses", he told the BBC.

"I would focus on there being too many rich people. It's crystal clear that we can't support seven billion people in the style of the wealthier Americans."

The 2018 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report stated that nearly 6 billion peoples will suffer from clean water scarcity by 2050. This is the result of increasing demand for water, reduction of water resources, và increasing pollution of water, driven by dramatic population & economic growth. It is suggested that this number may be an underestimation, & scarcity of clean water by 2050 may be worse as the effects of the three drivers of water scarcity, as well as of unequal growth, accessibility and needs, are underrated. While the report promotes the spontaneous adoption of abpvisa.com-based-solutions within an unconstrained population and economic expansion, there is an urgent need to lớn regulate demography & economy, while enforcing clear rules to lớn limit pollution, preserve aquifers and save water, equally applying everywhere. The aim of this paper is khổng lồ highlight the inter-linkage in between population và economic growth và water demand, resources và pollution, that ultimately drive water scarcity, và the relevance of these aspects in local, rather than global, perspective, with a view lớn stimulating debate.

The 2018 edition of the United Nations (UN) World Water Development Report (WWDR)1 has provided an update on the present trends of clean water availability và future expectations. Water security, the capacity of a population to lớn safeguard sustainable access lớn adequate quantities of water of acceptable quality, is already at risk for many, và the situation will become worse in the next few decades.2 Clean water scarcity is a major issue in today’s’ world of 7.7 billion people. The strain on the water system will grow by 2050 when the world population will reach between 9.4 and 10.2 billion, a 22 to lớn 34% increase. The strain will be aggravated by unequal population growth in different areas unrelated lớn local resources. Most of this population growth is expected in developing countries, first in Africa, và then in Asia, where scarcity of clean water is already a major issue.

At present, slightly less than one half of the global population, 3.6 billion people or 47%, live in areas that suffer water scarcity at least 1 month each year.1 According to,3 the number is even larger, 4.0 billion people, or 52% of the global population. By 2050, more than half of the global population (57%) will live in areas that suffer water scarcity at least one month each year.1 This estimate by1 may be an underestimation. The water demand, water resources, và water chất lượng forecast by1 depends on many geopolitical factors that are difficult khổng lồ predict. The decline of water resources and water unique only partially discussed in,1 may be much harder khổng lồ control.

The WWDR1 focuses on the application of abpvisa.com-based-solutions (NBS), measures inspired by abpvisa.com such as the adoption of dry toilets, which will have a negligible effect on the huge problem. More concrete regulatory measures are needed to lớn tackle the clean water crisis, directly acting on water use and conservation. There are major obstacles to lớn providing adequate water planning. First is the refusal lớn admit that unbounded growth is unsustainable.4 Overpopulation arguments are portrayed as “anti-poor”, “anti-developing country” và “anti-human”.4 Population kích thước as a fundamental driver of scarcity is dubbed as a “faulty notion”.5 This denial is partly responsible for lack of good water planning, supported by overconfidence in NBS. The key points of the WWDR1 are summarized và discussed in the following sections.

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Increasing water demand follows population growth, economic development và changing consumption patterns.1 Global water demand has increased by 600% over the past 100 years.5 This corresponds lớn an annual increment rate of 1.8%. According to,6 the present annual growth rate is less, only 1%, but this figure may be optimistic. Global water demand will grow significantly over the next two decades in all the three components, industry, domestic và agriculture.1 Industrial and domestic demand will grow faster than agricultural demand but demand for agriculture will remain the largest.1 The growth in non-agricultural demand will exceed the growth in agricultural demand.7

Global water demand for all uses, presently about 4,600 km3 per year, will increase by 20% to 30% by 2050, up to 5,500 khổng lồ 6,000 km3 per year.2 Global water demand for agriculture will increase by 60% by 2025.8 By 2050 the global population will increase to lớn between 9.4 khổng lồ 10.2 billion people, an increment of 22% khổng lồ 32%.1 Most of the population growth will occur in Africa, +1.3 billion, or +108% of the present value, and Asia, +0.75 billion, or +18% of the present value.9 Two-thirds of the world population will live in cities.1 These estimates of future population & water demand are the best we have, though it is realized such forecasts are difficult.5

Globally, water use for agriculture presently accounts for 70% of the total. Most are used for irrigation. Global estimates & projections are uncertain.1 The food demand by 2050 will increase by 60%,1 and this increment will require more arable land và intensification of production. This will translate into increased use of water.10 Global use of water for industry presently accounts for 20% of the total. Energy production accounts for 75% of the industry total và manufacturing the remaining 25%.11 Water demand for the industry by 2050 will increase everywhere around the world, with the possible exceptions of North America and Western Europe.5 Water demand for the industry will increase by 800% in Africa, where present industry use is negligible. Water demand for the industry will increase by 250% in Asia. Global water demand for manufacturing will increase by 400%.

Global water use for energy will increase 20% over the period 2010–2035,5 và by 2050 will increase by 85%.12 Domestic global water use currently accounts for 10% of the total. Domestic water demand is expected to increase significantly over the period 2010–2050 in all the world regions except for Western Europe. The greatest increment, 300%, will occur in Africa và Asia. The increase will be 200% in Central và South America.5 This growth is attributed to the increase in water supply services lớn urban settlements.5

Clearly, the demand for water by 2050 will increase dramatically, but unequally, across all the continents. Quantitative estimates are difficult lớn provide with accuracy. The estimates of the WWDR1 are not expected to be very accurate, and likely optimistic.

Water demand cannot exceed water availability. While water demand is increasing, water availability is shrinking, because of shrinking resources and, as discussed in the next paragraph, pollution. The available surface water resources are forecast khổng lồ remain about constant at continental level,5 although chất lượng will deteriorate, & spatial and temporal distribution will change. More likely, aquifers will shrink, và salt intrusion in coastal areas will be very dramatic. In contrast, the growth of population, gross domestic product (GDP), and water demand will increase globally and unequally.5 Changes will be much more pronounced at the sub-regional level than at the country level, và the global average.5

Many countries are already experiencing water scarcity conditions.13 Many more countries will face a reduced availability of surface water resources by 2050.13 In the early to mid-2010s, 1.9 billion people, or 27% of the global population, lived in potential severely water-scarce areas.1 In 2050, this number will increase 42 to 95%, or 2.7 khổng lồ 3.2 billion peoples.1 If monthly, rather than annual, variability is considered, 3.6 billion people worldwide, slightly less than 1/2 of the global population, presently live in potential water-scarce areas at least 1 month per year. This number will increase from 33 to lớn 58% khổng lồ 4.8 khổng lồ 5.7 billion by 2050.13 About 73% of the people affected by water scarcity presently live in Asia.1

In the 2010s, groundwater use globally amounted to 800 km3 per year.5 India, the United States, China, Iran, và Pakistan accounted for 67% of the global extractions.5 Water withdrawals for irrigation are the primary driver of groundwater depletion worldwide. The increment of groundwater extractions by 2050 will be 1,100 km3 per year, or 39%.5 Improving the efficiency of irrigation water use may lead to an overall intensification of water depletion at the basin level.14 At about 4,600 km3 per year, current global withdrawals are already near maximum sustainable levels.15

More than 30% of the world largest groundwater systems are now in distress.16 The largest groundwater basins are being rapidly depleted. In many places, there is no accurate knowledge about how much water remains in these basins17 and.18 People are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it will run out,17 and.18 According to,19 the world’s supply of fresh water may be much more limited than what is thought because unlimited groundwater was assumed. Challenges more severe than global are expected at regional và local scales.16

Coastal zones have special problems. They are more densely populated than the hinterland, và they exhibit higher population growth rates & urbanization. Water withdrawal is already causing significant land subsidence, that combined lớn thermo-steric sea level rise, translate in relative sea màn chơi rise in coastal areas và salinization of aquifers,20,21,22,23 Water withdrawal-induced subsidence is reported in many coastal areas of the world, from North America,24,25,26 lớn East Asia,27,28,29,30,31 Population growth rates & urbanization in coastal areas are expected lớn further increase in the future,32,33 Thermo-steric & land subsidence driven relative sea level rise will also reduce arable lands along the coast & within estuaries,29,30 và reshape coastal regions. Especially coastal regions, which are home to a large and growing share of the global population, are undergoing an environmental decline33 impacting water availability. The neglected dramatic changes of coastal areas, due lớn relative sea cấp độ rise by land subsidence and thermo-steric effects, that directly and indirectly affect water availability, are missing points in the WWDR.1

Coral islands are a special case, however affecting a small giới thiệu of the global population, as they depend on a lens of groundwater for their water supply. Overuse of water causes shrinkage of the groundwater lens, which eventually leads to lớn saltwater intrusion. Increasing population also leads to lớn more contamination of the groundwater, so many islands are suffering a reduction in water resources as well as increasing pollution.

Apart from the discovery of new aquifers, desalination is the most effective measure khổng lồ increase water resources. However, it is expensive, and it requires significant energy inputs. Currently, about 1% of the world’s population living in coastal areas is dependent on desalination. The progress of desalination lớn 2050 is hard to lớn predict, depending on economic and energetic energy issues.

The simple message is that water resources will decrease dramatically by 2050. Likely, the estimates of the WWDR1 are not very accurate, & probably optimistic.

The problem of water pollution is a weak part of the WWDR.1 Pollution is becoming worse, especially in the last few decades, but seems to lớn be inadequately reported. Pollution of water is correlated with population density & economic growth.34 At present 12% of the world population drinks water from unimproved and unsafe sources.34 More than 30% of the world population, or 2.4 billion people, lives without any khung of sanitation.34 Lack of sanitation contributes lớn water pollution. 90% of sewage in developing countries is discharged into the water untreated.35 Every year 730 million tons of sewage & other effluents are discharged into the water.36 Industry discharges 300 lớn 400 megatons of waste into the water every year.

Non-point source pollution from agriculture & urban areas & industry point source pollution contribute to lớn the pollutant load. More than 30% of the global biodiversity has been lost because of the degradation of fresh-water ecosystems due to the pollution of water resources & aquatic ecosystems.37 Wastewater recycling in agriculture, that is important for livelihoods also brings serious health risks.1 Over the last 3 decades, water pollution has worsened, affecting almost every river in Africa, Asia & Latin America.38

Water pollution will intensify over the next few decades39 and become a serious threat lớn sustainable development.39 At present 80% of industrial and municipal wastewaters are released untreated.40 Effluents from wastewater are projected khổng lồ increase because of rapid urbanization và the high cost of wastewater treatment.41 Nutrient loading is the most dangerous water chất lượng threat, often associated with pathogen loading.38 Agriculture is the predominant source of nitrogen and a significant source of phosphorus.38 Current levels of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from agriculture may already exceed the globally sustainable limits.42 Global fertilizer use is projected lớn increase from around 90 million tons in 200043 khổng lồ more than 150 million tons by 2050.44 Intensified biofuel production will lead to lớn high nitrogen fertilizer consumption.43 Nitrogen and phosphorus effluents by 2050 will increase by 180 % and 150 % respectively.45 Other chemicals also impact on water quality. Global chemicals used for agriculture currently amount lớn 2 million tons per year, with herbicides 47.5%, insecticides 29.5%, fungicides 17.5% và other chemicals 5.5%.46

The danh sách of contaminants of concern is increasing,47 as a novel or varied contaminants are used, often suddenly detected at concentrations much higher than expected.47 Novel contaminants include pharmaceuticals, hormones, industrial chemicals, personal care products, flame retardants, detergents, perfluorinated compounds, caffeine, fragrances, cyanotoxins, nanomaterials and cleaning agents.47 Exposure to pollutants will increase dramatically in low-income and lower-middle income countries.38 Pollution will be driven by higher population và economic growth in these countries,38 and the lack of wastewater treatment.40 Pollution will be particularly strong in Africa.38

In brief, the demand for water will increase by 2050 but the availability of water will be reduced. Water resources will reduce. Pollution will further reduce the amount of clean fresh water. This aspect is marginally factored in the WWDR.1

Changes in the ecosystems will be affected by changes in the water demand & availability và vice versa. Conservation or restoration of the ecosystems will impact on water availability for human consumption, both resources, và quality.1 About 30% of the global land area is forested, & 65% of this area is already in a degraded state.48 Grasslands & areas with trees, but dominated by grass, presently exceed the area of forests. Large areas of forests and wetlands have been converted into grasslands, for livestock grazing or production of crops. Wetlands only cover 2.6% of the land but play a significant role in hydrology.49

The loss of natural wetland area has been 87% since 1700. The rate of wetland loss has been 370% faster during the 20th and early 21st centuries.49 Since 1900 there has been a loss of 64% to lớn 71% of wetlands.49 Losses have been larger, & are now faster, for inland, rather than coastal, wetlands.49 The rate of loss is presently highest in Asia. The effects of sea level rise are underrated in.49

Soils are also changing. Most of the world’s soils are in only fair, poor or very poor condition,50 và the situation is expected to lớn worsen in the future.50 The major global issues are soil erosion, loss of soil organic carbon và nutrient imbalance. Presently, soil erosion from croplands carries away 25 to lớn 40 billion tons of soil every year. Crop yields and soil’s ability to regulate water, carbon, and nutrients are reduced. 23 to 42 million tons of nitrogen and 15 to 26 million tons of phosphorus are presently transported off the land. Soil erosion and nutrient run-off have negative effects on water quality.50 Sodicity & salinity of the soils are global issues in both irrigated and non-irrigated areas. Sodicity and salinity take out 0.3 to lớn 1.5 million ha of farmland each year.50 The production potential is also reduced by trăng tròn to 46 million ha.50

Ecosystems, biodiversity, và soil degradation are expected khổng lồ continue khổng lồ 2050, at an ever-faster rate. This will have an impact on the availability and unique of water, which is only partially considered in the WWDR.1

The data presented in,1 provide an optimistic, but still dramatic, estimation of water scarcity by 2050. Their gentle, abpvisa.com-based-solutions (NBS) are quite inadequate to lớn tackle this serious problem. Limitation of population and economic growth cannot be enforced easily. Ad hoc responses seem khổng lồ be necessary but hard khổng lồ be implemented.

Figure 1 presents in (a) the global water withdrawal, the GPD pro-capita and the world population since the year 1900, và in (b) the population of the world và of selected countries of Asia & Africa since the year 1950. The figure also presents in (c) the graphical concept of water scarcity, resulting from a more than linear growing demand, and a similarly more than linear reducing availability of clean water. It is intuitive that growing demand và shrinking availability will ultimately cross each other, locally earlier than globally.


a Water withdrawal, GDP pro-capita, and world population. The water withdrawal data to năm trước is from.71 The GPD pro-capita data to năm nhâm thìn is from.73 The population data lớn 2018 is from.72 b The population of the world và selected countries of Asia and Africa. The data khổng lồ 2018 is from ref. 72 The values for 2050 are obtained by linear extrapolations from recent years. c Graphical concept of water scarcity, resulting from a more than linear growing demand & a similarly more than a linear reduction of clean water availability

Demand for water, same of food or energy, increases with the growth of population & gross domestic product (GDP) pro-capita.51 In addition to lớn the growth of population, also the generation of wealth worldwide translates in increased consumption, resulting in increased water demand. The expected changes in wealth are coupled khổng lồ alterations in the consumption patterns, including changes khổng lồ diet. As agriculture worldwide accounts for up lớn 70% of the total consumption of water,52,53,54,55 with much higher levels in arid and semi-arid regions, food & water demands are on a collision path. One example of conflicting demands for water, food, & energy, within a context of regional population và economic growth, is the Mekong Delta. The morphology of the Mekong Delta as we know today developed in between 5.5 và 3.5 ka (thousand years before present). The relatively stable configuration experienced during the last 3.5 ka has been dramatically undermined during the last few decades. The delta itself may completely disappear in less than one century.

The increased demand for food, water, and energy of a growing population and a growing economy has translated in the extraction of larger quantities of groundwater in the delta, the construction of hydroelectric dams along the course of the river, the diverted water flow for increased upstream water uses, and the riverbed mining for sand. The reduced flow of water & sediments khổng lồ the delta,56,57,58,59,60 coupled to lớn the subsidence from excessive groundwater withdrawal và soil compaction,58,61,62,63,64,65 & the thermo-steric sea cấp độ rise,66,68,74 have translated in the sinking và shrinking of the delta. In the short term, this has translated in salinization of coastal aquifers, depletion of aquifers, & arsenic pollution of deep groundwater, additional to salinization of soil, flooding, destruction of rice harvesting và depletion of wild fish stocks, impacting on water & food availability,67,68 In the longer term, the delta itself may completely disappear as the result of not sustainable growth.69,70

As previously mentioned, apart from the discovery of new aquifers, increased use of desalination and water purification may lessen the reduction of available water. However, desalination needs significant economic and energetic energy input, difficult lớn predict. The water withdrawal data is obtained from.71 The population data is obtained from.72 The GPD pro-capita data is obtained from.73 The values by 2050 are obtained by linear extrapolations. The global water withdrawal is correlated lớn the world population, but it has been growing faster than the world population. The GPD pro-capita has been growing even faster than the world population. While we bởi not have any reliable data on water quality and resources vs. Time, over the same time window, we expect that the water quality and resources have also been deteriorating more than proportionally khổng lồ the economic và population growth.

Use of fertilizers has grown even faster than the global water withdrawal.74 Production và consumption of nitrogen, phosphate và potash fertilizers since 1961 has similar growing patterns.75 Global pesticide production is also growing continuously.76 The key driver for pollution is the growth of the population và the economy.41 The groundwater basins are being quickly exhausted by excessive withdrawals. Additionally, because of the relative sea level rise, thermo-steric và groundwater withdrawal generated subsidence, aquifers in coastal lands and estuaries are being rapidly compromised, while fertile lands are turned unproductive,29,30 Similarly, to lớn water demand, also water resources và water quality are thus linked to economic & demographic growths. Opposite to lớn the population & GDP data, the data of fresh water usage, fresh-water resources, and pollution of fresh water, are more difficult lớn be sorted out with the accuracy needed, making every forecast to 2050 problematic.

Regarding the economy, it must be added that the IMF’s Global Debt Database77 indicates that the debt has reached globally in 2017 an all-time high of $184 trillion, or 225% of the GDP. The world’s debt now exceeds $86,000 per capita, which is more than 250% of the average income per capita. The most indebted economies in the world are the richer ones, with the United States, China, and nhật bản accounting for more than half of the global debt, and the poorer countries on their way lớn becoming indebted.

The three key aspects of water scarcity, water demand, water resources, water pollution, are strongly related to population growth & economic growth. They are strongly interconnected, and dramatically variable in space and time, with local conditions that will be much worse than the global conditions. Many countries are experiencing population growth largely exceeding the already alarming global average. Linear extrapolations lớn 2050 are in some cases in excess, và in some cases in defect, of the values forecast in,72 demonstrating complex dynamics. For example, the population forecast to lớn 2050 for Uganda is 105,698,201, or +2,110% vs. The values of 1950. The linear extrapolation to 2050 is 89,313,923, or +1,783% vs. The values of 1950. Opposite, the population forecast to lớn 2050 for the world is, optimistically, 9,771,822,753, or +385% vs. The values of 1950. The linear extrapolation khổng lồ 2050 is 10,274,650,493, or +405% vs. The values of 1950. Global growths of 385 to 405% over 100 years are everything but sustainable. Even less sustainable are local growths that at the country màn chơi are exceeding 2,000% over 100 years. It is impossible khổng lồ provide clean fresh water to support such growth rates.

As clean water demand is increasing, and clean water availability is reducing, with local situations much worse than global, clean water demand will eventually exceed the availability of clean water at some local levels much earlier than at the global level. These break-points may occur earlier than 2050 in many areas of the world. Considering when a vital resource is in short supply, people will fight for it, provision of water khổng lồ 2050 will be very likely played against a social background of competition và probably conflict if nothing will be done to lớn prevent a water crisis.

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