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Reuters/David Gray
CHEAT SHEET

Everything you need to know about water in 500 words or less

Member exclusive by Peter Green for Water

The Earth contains around 333 million cubic miles of water. Of that amount, 97% is in its oceans, seas, and bays, making it highly saline and unusable without costly desalination processes.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to grow another two to three billion people. That explosive growth will place an already taxed water ecosystem under even greater stress. Water demand will increase by a third, and as many as 5.7 billion people may not have regular access to clean, safe water if current trends continue.

Water’s increased scarcity may contribute to geopolitical instability. Areas where water is a potential source of conflict (due to one country building dams and preventing water from flowing downstream to other nations) include:

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