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The Global Fight for Water

As the Earth’s supply continues to drain, the impact of the global water crisis grows more severe. Here’s a look at the numbers behind the problem.

From space, Earth looks like it has so much water that it’s called the blue planet. But the reality is that much of that water is unfit for use by farmers, businesses and households around the globe. The salt water in our vast oceans is, of course, undrinkable and unsuitable for agriculture. Only a small fraction of earth’s water is fresh, in rivers, lakes, streams and aquifers. And only a fraction of that is clean and safe enough for human consumption — and near the populations that need it. Exacerbating the problems is crumbling water-related infrastructure around the world that both wastes water and jeopardizes its safety. What elevates this from a series of problems to a crisis is the massive population growth in areas of the globe where water supplies are under the most pressure.

The growing stress sets the stage for a massive build-out of the global water infrastructure over the next decade and beyond. Here’s a look at what’s threatening the planet’s water and the impact a dwindling supply could have.

 

Water Scarcity By the Numbers

Video Transcript

 

Accompanies the article “The Global Fight for Water”

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Alt text: Slide 1: Photo of water flowing against a dried up and cracked shore.

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Water Scarcity by the Numbers

Please see important information at the end of this program.  Filmed on 12/15/19

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Alt text: Slide 2: Photo of water flowing from a pipe.

 

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1/3 of the world’s biggest groundwater systems are in distress.

Source: “Quantifying renewable groundwater stress with GRACE,” Water Resources Research, June 2015.

 

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Alt text: Slide 3: Photo of a large group of people standing in a city square.

 

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3.2 billion: People expected to live under water stress by 2050.

Source: “Thirsty Planet,” The Economist, March 2, 2019.

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Alt text: Slide 4: Photo of water spraying from holes in a large pipe, stretching across a bridge above a river.

 

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Leaks and illegal siphoning around the world result in a significant loss of water treated by utilities.

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Alt text: Slide 5: Aerial photo of a variety of upright, uncapped clear plastic bottles.

 

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There could be a nearly 40% shortfall in available freshwater by 2030.

Source: “Charting our Water Future,” 2030 Water Group, 2009.

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Alt text: Slide 6: Photo of a man leaning on a dead tree, and he is looking out over a savannah.

 

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Global water use is estimated to increase by as much as 50% by 2050.

 

Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, updated November 2014.

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The text animates in and reads: For more on the challenges of global water scarcity, read  Water Blues: The Challenges (and Investment Plays) of a Thirsty Planet by Joseph P. Quinlan, Head of CIO Market Strategy, in the March 25, 2019 edition of Capital Market Outlook.

 

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Alt text: Slide 8 is an photo of disclaimer text.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 

This material was prepared by the Chief Investment Office (CIO) and is not a publication of BofA Global Research. The views expressed are those of the CIO only and are subject to change. This information should not be construed as investment advice. It is presented for information purposes only and is not intended to be either a specific offer by any Merrill or Bank of America entity to sell or provide, or a specific invitation for a consumer to apply for, any particular retail financial product or service that may be available.

 

Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM) is a division of Bank of America Corporation. The Chief Investment Office, which provides investment strategies, due diligence, portfolio construction guidance and wealth management solutions for GWIM clients, is part of the Investment Solutions Group (ISG) of GWIM.

 

Bank of America, Merrill, their affiliates, and advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Clients should consult their legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

 

Investment products:

 

Are Not FDIC Insured

Are Not Bank Guaranteed

May Lose Value

 

Bank of America Private Bank is a division of Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). Trust and fiduciary services and other banking products are provided by wholly-owned banking affiliates of BofA Corp., including Bank of America, N.A.

 

© 2020 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Alt text: Slide 9 is a photo of water flowing against a dried up and cracked shore.

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Please see important information at the end of this program.  Filmed on 12/15/19

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Financing to find a solution

Finding an effective solution to the global water crisis and other critical issues will require a unified effort on all fronts — governments and philanthropy alone aren’t enough. The public, private and nonprofit sectors must work together to make an impact. Financial institutions, in particular, play an essential role by providing capital to organizations and high-impact projects that have the power to bring change.

As part of its commitment to provide $125 billion in financing to clean energy and sustainability projects by 2025, Bank of America provided a $5 million interest-free loan to WaterEquity’s WaterCredit Investment Fund 3 (WCIF3), a microfinance solution launched by Water.org to give socially-conscious investors the opportunity to fund projects that change lives. The $50 million fund is projected to provide safe water and sanitation services to at least 4.6 million people in parts of Asia within seven years.

Elsewhere in the developing world, Bank of America has provided a $100 million grant to the Green-Blue Water Coalition, an alliance of Brazilian companies organized by The Nature Conservancy to protect critical watersheds throughout the country, and $1.75 million in funding for the GivePower Foundation, which has built solar-powered desalination systems for communities in need, including the village of Kiunga in Kenya.

Learn more about how Bank of America is helping protect watersheds and financing microloans for safe drinking water at bankofamerica.com.

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