Global water reserves
Viewed from space the earth is an awe-inspiring sight: 75% of our planet is covered by water – in liquid, gaseous or frozen form. It is this vital element of life that distinguishes the Earth from all other planets in our solar system.
Yet this apparent abundance is deceptive. Around 97 % of the Earth’s water resources are salt water. A significant proportion of fresh water reserves is trapped in the polar ice caps and glaciers and only 0.649% of all water resources can be used for drinking.
According to UNO estimates, the world’s population is set to increase from approximately 7.2 billion today to 9.6 billion by 2050. Due to the increasing average per capita consumption of water, currently 625m³ per annum, water consumption will also grow disproportionately.
Globally, more than one billion people have no access to clean drinking water. In 25 years up to 6 billion people will be experiencing water shortages because of poor hygiene. Even Europe’s natural water resources are being put under ever-increasing stress. Water stress arises when the amount of water used exceeds availability. In Austria, only 3% of the total renewable water supply is extracted annually – we therefore live in a veritable water paradise. By contrast, Bulgaria and Belgium, for example, suffer from water stress because they consume 55% and 41% respectively per annum of the renewable water supply.