It's no secret that our planet is undergoing a serious water crisis, with population growth putting increasing stress upon the supply of fresh water. But the situation is even worse than we thought.
About 4 billion people across the world have serious difficulty getting enough water for at least one month of every year, according to a just-published study in the journal Science Advances.
NEWS: Global Water Supply–How Much is Left?
Co-authors Arjen Y. Hoekstra, a professor of water management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and post-doctoral researcher Mesfin Mekonnen used computer modeling to study a growing shortage that they say is being driven by population growth, improved living standards, changing consumption patterns and the expansion of irrigation in agriculture.
Unlike previous studies that looked at longer-term patterns of availability, which the researchers say underestimated the impact of water scarcity, they looked at how the supply of "blue" water -- that is, fresh surface water and groundwater -- fluctuates in the course of a year.