EU Science Hub

Water Footprint Expands with Gross Domestic Product


The exponential increase of water demand has already been addressed since 1970s in the well-known report on the “Limits to growth”. Today, freshwater availability is considered one of the nine planetary boundaries, along with biosphere integrity, climate change and ocean acidification among others. It is essential, not only to sustain life on earth, but also for the provision of energy and food, in a context where 4 billion people are currently facing severe water stress during, at least, one month a year. A guaranteed supply could be undermined due to the increasing population, shifting lifestyles towards more intensive water use and climate change.