Water scarcity is a significant social and environmental challenge that the world is facing today and which shows no sign of going away anytime soon. According to the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “26% of the global population or 2.0 billion people lacked safely managed drinking water.” 2 According to the California’s Bureau of Reclamation, Water covers about 71% of the earth’s surface. 3 97% of the earth’s water is in the oceans. However, this water is too salty for drinking, crops, and most industrial uses, except for cooling. Thus, 3% of the earth’s water is fresh drinkable water. However, 2.5% of this freshwater is unavailable for human consumption because it is locked up in glaciers, polar ice caps, atmosphere, soil, highly polluted, or lies too far under the earth’s surface for human extraction at an affordable cost. 4 Therefore, only 0.5% of the earth’s water is available fresh water for human consumption. In other words, “[i]f the world’s water supply were only 100 liters (26 gallons), the world’s usable water supply of freshwater would be only about 0.003 liters (or one-half teaspoon). That amounts to an average of 8.4 million liters (or 2.2 million gallons) for each person on earth” 5 (excluding wildlife and plants).
Yacine Sanogho, M’Ballou
"Nestlé and the Right to Water,"
The Journal of International Relations, Peace Studies, and Development: Vol. 7:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://scholarworks.arcadia.edu/agsjournal/vol7/iss1/8