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Lack of Reliable and Sustainable Supply

More than a billion people are without a reliable source of clean water. Unfortunately, the problem is growing. Quite simply, Earth’s booming population is depleting its limited water resources faster than they are able to replenish themselves. The problem is particularly acute in arid locales where natural resources are already stretched thin.

The growing population also needs more food. In many parts of the world, water is increasingly being used for agriculture, which competes with household water use.

Water supplies face environmental pressures as well as human ones. Rainfall is variable from season to season and can be unreliable. Climatic trends such as El Niño and La Niña can bring plentiful rains in some years and drought in others.

Climate change may also exacerbate seasonal variability in water supply—already a major problem in areas where annual precipitation and runoff totals are subject to the whims of monsoons and other periodic events.

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