As we near the hump day of 2009's World Water Week, Worldwatch Institute reminds us that we are entering a time of water scarcity around the world, as population growth, climate change, pollution, and poor management conspire to put some 1.4 billion people in regions where water supply can not keep up with demand:
"Water scarcity" has several meanings. Physical water scarcity exists wherever available water is insufficient to meet demand: parts of the southwestern United States, northern Mexico, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, northern China, and southeastern Australia are characterized by physical water scarcity. Economic water scarcity occurs when water is available but inaccessible because of a lack of investment in water provision or poor management and regulation of water resources. Much of the water scarcity of sub-Saharan Africa falls into this category.