Urban water crises driven by elites’ unsustainable consumption


Township in South Africa

Over the past two decades, more than 80 metropolitan cities across the world have faced severe water shortages due to droughts and unsustainable water use. Future projections are even more alarming, since urban water crises are expected to escalate and most heavily affect those who are socially, economically and politically disadvantaged. 

Map over areas with possible future water shortage

The sustainable management of urban water supply constitutes one of the key challenges of our time. During the first two decades of the twenty-first century alone, more than 80 large metropolitan areas have experienced extreme drought and water shortages. Urban water crises are expected to become more frequent, with over one billion urban residents projected to experience water shortages in the near future. In both the Northern and the Southern hemispheres, metropolitan areas experience extreme droughts and unsustainable levels of water consumption. In the face of fluctuating supplies, meeting the growing urban water demands and finding a sustainable balance among the city, its rural hinterland and environmental flow requirements is becoming increasingly challenging.

A new article in Nature Sustainability, cowritten by Elisa Savelli, uncovers how inequalities influence water crises and hydrological risks. 

Read the article hereUrban water crises driven by elites’ unsustainable consumption

For more information contact Elisa Savellielisa.savelli@geo.uu.se

News from the Department of Earth Sciences

Last modified: 2022-09-30