Water

While 72 percent of the Earth is covered in water, only 3 percent consists of precious freshwater, and of that, over two-thirds is stored in ice caps and glaciers. Currently, about 1.1 billion people chronically lack access to drinking or irrigation water, and a total of 2.7 billion experience water scarcity for at least one month of the year; this is predicted to increase in the future due to unsustainable extraction of water from aquifers and rivers, and to climate change and the growing importance of other competing uses such as industrial developments and urbanisation. Since industrial times, more than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Agricultural production is the major user of water, utilising some 70% of all irrigation water and its use is often highly inefficient. The agri-food sector is also a major source of water pollution, via its use of pesticides and synthetic and organic fertilisers, contributing to eutrophication.