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MIT researchers find that by 2050 more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas and about a billion or more will not have sufficient water resources.

Population growth and increasing social pressures on global water resources have required communities around the globe to focus on the future of water availability. Global climate change is expected to further exacerbate the demands on water-stressed regions. In an effort to assess future water demands and the impacts of climate change, MIT researchers have used a new modeling tool to calculate the ability of global water resources to meet water needs through 2050.

The researchers expect 5 billion (52 percent) of the world’s projected 9.7 billion people to live in water-stressed areas by 2050. They also expect about 1 billion more people to be living in areas where water demand exceeds surface-water supply. A large portion of these regions already face water stress — most notably India, Northern Africa and the Middle East.

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