NEW YORK, March 23 (UPI) -- The United Nation's report on water development warns that global water resources may only meet 60 percent of demand by 2030.
The U.N.'s World Water Development Report states that there will be a 55 percent increase in water demand over the next 15 years, but resources would only meet 60 percent of the world's water needs.
Climate change, population growth and prioritizing economic development over sustainability contribute to the issue of water shortages, according to the report.
"Demand for freshwater is growing," the report states. "Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit."
The U.N. projects global water demand will continue to increase by 55 percent by the year 2050 due to demand from manufacturing, thermal electricity generation and domestic use.
About 20 percent of the world's aquifers are over-exploited, according to the U.N. Disrupted ecosystems undermine clean water capacity, which perpetuates persistent poverty and creates stagnation in development.
The water shortage could be devastating to agriculture, economies and ecosystems.
"Water flows through the three pillars of sustainable development -- economic, social and environmental. Water resources, and the essential services they provide, are among the keys to achieving poverty reduction, inclusive growth, public health, food security, lives of dignity for all and long-lasting harmony with Earth's essential ecosystems," Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon wrote in the report. "Water issues have risen in prominence in recent years, reflecting growing understanding of water's centrality as well as the world's success in achieving the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water."
About 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking resources such as piped supplies and protected wells between 1990 and 2010, according to Ban. He also urged government leaders, civil society and the private sector to join forces to protect water resources to build a more sustainable future.