Economies across large swathes of the globe could shrink dramatically by mid-century as fresh water grows scarce due to climate change, the World Bank reported on Tuesday.
The Middle East could be hardest hit, with its gross domestic product slipping as much as 14 percent by 2050 unless measures are taken to reallocate water significantly, the Washington-based institution said in a report.
Such measures include efficiency efforts and investment in technologies such as desalination and water recycling, it said.
Global warming can cause extreme floods and droughts and can mean snowfall is replaced by rain, with higher evaporation rates, experts say.
It also can reduce mountain snow pack that provides water, and the melting of inland glaciers can deplete the source of runoff, they say. Also, a rise in sea level can lead to saltwater contaminating groundwater.
“When we look at any of the major impacts of climate change, they one way or the other come through water, whether it’s drought, floods, storms, sea level rise,” Richard Damania, World Bank lead economist and lead author of the report, told reporters in a telephone conference.
Fresh water shortages could take a toll on sectors from agriculture to energy, the World Bank said. Read more