What are the Causes of Water Scarcity? Effects & Types of Water Scarcity

One of the main causes of water scarcity is the growing demand for water. The world’s population is ever-growing, and as it does, so too does the demand for water. Other causes of water scarcity include climate change, pollution, inefficient irrigation practices, and wastage.

In some cases, natural disasters such as droughts can also lead to water scarcity. Water scarcity is a major problem facing many parts of the world today. In this blog post, we will explore what are the causes of water scarcity in-depth.

what are the causes of water scarcity

What Are the Causes of Water Scarcity? 5 Most Common Factors

Water scarcity is a real and growing problem across the globe. While water is a renewable resource, it is also finite. And with the world’s population continuing to grow, the demand for water is outstripping the available supply in many areas.

There are several factors that contribute to water scarcity. Some of these are:

1. Climate Change

One of the most significant drivers of water scarcity is climate change. As temperatures rise and weather patterns become more extreme, droughts are becoming more common in many regions. This has a major impact on both the availability of fresh water and the quality of water resources.

2. Population Growth

As the world’s population continues to increase, so does the demand for water – for drinking, for sanitation, industry, and agriculture. The world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which will put even more strain on water resources.

3. Mismanagement of Water Resources

Poor management of water resources can also contribute to water scarcity. This can include overuse of water, inefficient irrigation practices (e.g: over 70% of the world’s freshwater is used in irrigation alone), and inadequate infrastructure for collecting, storing, and distributing water.

4. Pollution

Water pollution can make water unsafe to drink or use, reducing its availability. Pollution can come from a variety of sources, including industrial waste, agricultural runoff, and sewage.

When rivers and lakes are polluted with sewage or industrial waste, they can no longer be used for drinking or irrigation. This not only reduces the amount of water available but also pollutes what little remains.

5. Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods can damage water infrastructure and disrupt the availability of water.

By addressing these causes, it may be possible to mitigate the effects of water scarcity and improve access to clean, reliable water for all.

What is Water Scarcity?

Water scarcity is the lack of clean water availability. Nearly 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water, and 2.7 billion experience water shortages. Water scarcity is caused by a variety of factors including climate change, pollution, overuse of resources, and inadequate infrastructure.

Types of Water Scarcity

Water scarcity can be caused by a number of factors, including physical (e.g., drought), economic (e.g., poverty), or environmental (e.g., pollution) factors.

  • Physical water scarcity is often caused by drought, which can be the result of natural climate variability or human-induced climate change.
  • Economic water scarcity is usually the result of poverty and/or poor water infrastructure, which can prevent access to clean water for some people.
  • Environmental water scarcity is often caused by pollution, which can contaminate water supplies and make them unsafe for human consumption.

Effects of Water Scarcity

effects of water scarcity

Water scarcity can have a range of negative effects on individuals, communities, and the environment. Some of the potential impacts of water scarcity include:

  1. Health problems: Lack of access to clean water can lead to a range of health problems including dehydration, malnutrition, and waterborne diseases like cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea. These health problems can be particularly severe for vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
  2. Agricultural impacts: Water scarcity can also have significant impacts on agriculture, which is the main source of water use in many regions. Drought or other water shortages can reduce crop yields and increase the risk of crop failure, leading to food shortages and potentially contributing to malnutrition.
  3. Economic impacts: Water scarcity can also have economic consequences, as it can reduce the productivity of agriculture and other industries, as well as increase the cost of water treatment and distribution. This can lead to economic losses and job losses in affected areas.
  4. Environmental impacts: Water scarcity can also have negative impacts on the environment. For example, drought can lead to the drying up of rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water, which can harm aquatic ecosystems and wildlife. Water scarcity can also lead to the overuse of groundwater, which can lead to the depletion of underground water resources and potentially cause the land to sink (a process called subsidence).

Addressing water scarcity is important to protect the health, economic well-being, and environmental integrity of affected communities.

Solutions to Water Scarcity

There are a number of ways to address water scarcity, and the most effective solution depends on the underlying cause of the problem.

For Example:

  • if water scarcity is caused by a lack of access to clean drinking water, then increasing access to clean water sources is the most obvious solution.
  • If water scarcity is caused by drought or climate change, then increasing water conservation efforts or investing in irrigation infrastructure may be the most effective solution.

No matter what the cause of water scarcity is, there are a number of solutions that can be implemented to help address the problem. Some solutions include:

  1. Improving access to clean drinking water
  2. Increasing water conservation efforts
  3. Investing in irrigation infrastructure
  4. Recycling wastewater
  5. Harvesting rainwater

Video: What are the Causes of Water Scarcity


Water scarcity is a major global problem that affects millions of people around the world. It occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available supply, and it can have serious consequences for both people and the environment. There are many different causes of water scarcity, including both natural and human-induced factors.

Water scarcity is caused by increasing demand, climate change, pollution, and mismanagement of water resources. These factors can lead to overuse and depletion of water resources, drought, and reduced availability of clean water.

To address the issue of water scarcity, it is necessary to address the underlying causes and develop solutions to effectively preserve and manage water supplies.

This may include investing in infrastructure to improve the efficiency of water use, promoting water conservation practices, and developing new technologies to increase the availability of water. By taking these steps, we can help to ensure that there is enough water for all people and all uses.


What are the 5 causes of water scarcity?

Water scarcity is caused by increasing demand, climate change, pollution, mismanagement, and natural disasters. These factors can lead to drought, water shortages, and reduced availability of clean water.

What are the types of water scarcity?

There are three types of water scarcity: physical, economic, or environmental. All this can be handled easily if proper attention is given.