Water And Energy Shortages Are Fueling A Global Food Crisis

  • 18.09.2022
  • Yahoo

Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which supply drinking water to millions of people in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, and California, are each currently down to just 27% of their capacity, a near-complete collapse from being 95% full in 2000. In China, record heatwaves and drought have dried up the Yangtze River. Yale Environment 360 is warning that the drying up of Europe’s great rivers, which function as the arteries of the continent's economy, could be the new normal. Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population, or about four billion people, suffer from severe water scarcity for at least one month each year, and half of the global population could face water scarcity by just 2025.

This is terrifying for a wide number of reasons. We’ve all heard that water is life, and most of us can’t fathom our day-to-day tasks without abundant potable water at the twist of a tap. But water scarcity isn’t just water scarcity. It’s food scarcity and energy scarcity too. Scientists and academics are increasingly approaching issues of food, water, and energy not as separate fields of study and development but as one water-energy-food nexus which is inherently interdependent and interrelated. We can’t hope to address the crises facing any of these sectors without discussing all of them.

Climate change poses an enormous and unprecedented threat to water, energy, and food, at the same time that demand for all three is steadily increasing. The current drought conditions around the globe are putting enormous pressure on the nexus and squeezing the energy supply even tighter amid a worldwide energy crisis spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and compounded by the Russian war in Ukraine. The lack of water has devastated hydropower sectors and limited the navigability of waterways that are central to global supply chains of fossil fuels and cooling nuclear energy plants.