quote from whyfiles.org...
Of a population of roughly 6.1 billion, more than 1 billion lack access to potable water. The World Health Organization says that at any time, up to
half of humanity has one of the six main diseases -- diarrhea, schistosomiasis, or trachoma, or infestation with ascaris, guinea worm, or hookworm --
associated with poor drinking water and inadequate sanitation. About 5 million people die each year from poor drinking water, poor sanitation, or a
dirty home environment -- often resulting from water shortage (see "Tackling the Big Three" in the bibliography
China, with 1.26 billion people, is "the one area worrying most people most of the time," says Marq de Villiers, author of the recently published
"Water " (see bibliography). In dry Northern China, he says, "the water table is dropping one meter per year due to overpumping, and the Chinese
admit that 300 cities are running short. They are diverting water from agriculture and farmers are going out of business." Some Chinese rivers are so
polluted with heavy metals that they can't be used for irrigation, he adds.
"They're disgraceful, unusable, industrial sewers," says de Villiers. As farmers go out of business, China will have to import more food.
In India, home to 1.002 billion people, key aquifers are being overpumped, and the soil is growing saltier through contamination with irrigation
water. Irrigation was a key to increasing food production in India during the green revolution, and as the population surges toward a projected 1.363
billion in 2025, its crops will continue to depend on clean water and clean soil.
Israel (population 6.2 million), invented many water-conserving technologies, but water withdrawals still exceed resupply. Overpumping of aquifers
along the coast is allowing seawater to pollute drinking water. Like neighboring Jordan, Israel is largely dependent on the Jordan River for fresh