Demand for freshwater is rising with factors, such as population growth, land use change and climate variations, rendering water availability in the future uncertain. A complex process affected by both natural processes and human activities and climate variations, many of these factors are expected to undergo substantial changes in the near future. This is bound to render freshwater availability in the future uncertain. Water resources are therefore indisputably declining at an alarming rate all around the world.
Urbanization is one of the most extreme forms of human-induced land use change resulting from the intricate actions of various physical and socio-economic factors. Urbanization leads to increased pressure on freshwater resources as people become more concentrated in one area through the transformation of once natural landscapes to urban water-impervious lands, which limits available freshwater resources Other than population growth, demand is also expected to be influenced by economic development and projected changes in water use efficiency as urban areas grow. This is a major concern for many developing countries that have seen their economies undergo rapid transitions from rural to urban settings during the last half of the twentieth century, especially since the world population tripled while the use of water increased six-fold in the past century. Population growth particularly will limit the amount of water available per person, because an increase in per capita water consumption driven by development will intensify water demand, straining the local water supply.
Recognition of the links between rapidly growing populations and shrinking freshwater supplies is the essential first step in making water use sustainable. There is not a global water shortage as such, but individual countries and regions need to urgently tackle the critical problems presented by water stress. Water has to be treated as a scarce resource, with a far stronger focus on managing demand. Integrated water resources management provides a broad framework for governments to align water use patterns with the needs and demands of different users, including the environment.

Cairo Water Week 24th-28th October 2021

Water, Population and Global Changes: Challenges and Opportunities