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Water at a premium: Residents of a slum collect drinking water from a tanker at a roadside in Kolkata. India's growing water shortages are seen as a potential dangerous trigger for wider social unrest. But the problem is also much closer to home. According to the EU, water scarcity affects at least 11% of the EU population and 17% of its territory.

© Reuters

But what type of water? Infected water is one of the principal causes of disease and death in Africa, particularly amongst the young. Prolonged drought and water scarcity have not only caused destruction through people turning to unsafe water, but have also led to direct conflct over resources, such as in the region which straddles Somalia and Ethiopia.

© Reuters

And it’s not just about water – but also food. Here, Zara Mahmoud, 2, is comforted by her mother at Hartesheik camp for internally displaced persons in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Malnutrition is a killer on the continent. Her younger brother died from malnutrition the day before this photo was taken.

© Reuters & UNICEF

But while concerns are rightly focused on making sure that the world’s food reaches the world’s hungry, up to a third of food in the developed world is wasted. And obesity, from eating too much food, is also a concern. This is no longer just a North American concern – rates of obesity have doubled in France in the last 15 years to seven million people.

© Reuters

Why the squeeze is on. Fertility rates may be dropping in Europe, but in the major population centres of the world, such as China and India, population growth continues. This will add pressure to resources for at least another couple of decades.

© Reuters

And weather conditions are not helping. Whether directly linked to global warming or not, freak weather conditions have made food and water supplies more difficult recently. This photo was taken this summer in Kentucky, US.

© Reuters

Finally, the demand on water supplies is not limited to food production. Hydroelectric power is seen by many as a viable energy source for the future. But where the water comes from could be the hitch. There are several regions in the world where a dam upriver in one country has led to disputes down river in another. And many of these countries are big ones.

© Reuters

Water at a premium: Residents of a slum collect drinking water from a tanker at a roadside in Kolkata. India's growing water shortages are seen as a potential dangerous trigger for wider social unrest. But the problem is also much closer to home. According to the EU, water scarcity affects at least 11% of the EU population and 17% of its territory.

© Reuters

But what type of water? Infected water is one of the principal causes of disease and death in Africa, particularly amongst the young. Prolonged drought and water scarcity have not only caused destruction through people turning to unsafe water, but have also led to direct conflct over resources, such as in the region which straddles Somalia and Ethiopia.

© Reuters

And it’s not just about water – but also food. Here, Zara Mahmoud, 2, is comforted by her mother at Hartesheik camp for internally displaced persons in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Malnutrition is a killer on the continent. Her younger brother died from malnutrition the day before this photo was taken.

© Reuters & UNICEF

But while concerns are rightly focused on making sure that the world’s food reaches the world’s hungry, up to a third of food in the developed world is wasted. And obesity, from eating too much food, is also a concern. This is no longer just a North American concern – rates of obesity have doubled in France in the last 15 years to seven million people.

© Reuters

Why the squeeze is on. Fertility rates may be dropping in Europe, but in the major population centres of the world, such as China and India, population growth continues. This will add pressure to resources for at least another couple of decades.

© Reuters

And weather conditions are not helping. Whether directly linked to global warming or not, freak weather conditions have made food and water supplies more difficult recently. This photo was taken this summer in Kentucky, US.

© Reuters

Finally, the demand on water supplies is not limited to food production. Hydroelectric power is seen by many as a viable energy source for the future. But where the water comes from could be the hitch. There are several regions in the world where a dam upriver in one country has led to disputes down river in another. And many of these countries are big ones.

© Reuters

quotes
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790),
Poor Richard's Almanac, 1746
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