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Growing Population Economies, Water & Climate Change

A rising human population and resulting increased economic activities are some of the reasons for our environmental problems. These problems relate to water scarcity, air, soil, fauna and flora. Climate change in particular has led to an increase in water scarcity, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. With regards to water, humans use more than a quarter of terrestrial evapotranspiration for growing crops. Furthermore, more than half of the accessible water run-off is used for this purpose. The ensuing water crisis has been said to be worsening with growing populations. During the 20th century, global economic output grew by a factor of more than 20. This was accompanied by growing raw material extraction, and increasing levels of emissions (fluid and gaseous) that are often harmful to the environment. Whilst some have hypothesized that environmental degradation decreases with increasing income levels, in reality, it’s not always seem that simple. Some environmental degradation levels persist even in highly developed economies.

In Cape Town, South Africa, with a population of over 4 million people, the water crisis has been slowed enough to avert the D-Day scenario known as “Day Zero,” which predicted that the city would run out of water by mid 2018. Citizens of Cape Town are constantly reminded to conserve their water by flushing toilets less and taking 2-minute showers. Recently dam levels hovered around 18%, which officials says is an improvement.

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