Food and water demand and supply

Increasing demand for food and water

Population growth, increasing urbanization and industrialization lead to increased food and water demand and at the same time availability of food and water is reduced, principally because of deteriorating conditions to grow food and access to clean water due to climate change effects. This will lead to an increasing demand for waterborne transport and related infrastructure as well as aquatic food production volumes.

The rush of people to coastal areas and their urbanization will continue, reducing the agricultural capacity while demand for food will rise at least 35% by 2030. While nearly half of the world population will live in areas experiencing severe water stress, demand for water will rise at approx. 40% by 2030. The rapidly growing water demands from cities, industry and electricity suppliers will challenge water available for irrigation which in turn challenges food production.

Impacts on all waterborne sectors
Population growth directly increases scarcity in almost every aspect of life; from food and water, to production materials, to clean air and also to ocean pace. This will lead to an increasing demand for waterborne transport and related infrastructure as well as aquatic food production volumes.

Water becomes a more important location factor for people and production. At the regional level, scarcity of water compromises economic growth. This will lead to more concentration of population and economic activity in location with a more secure water supply, provided by either local production or increased transportation of water.

The distance between the location of food production and where food is needed will increase due to concentration of people in urban agglomerations. This leads to increased transport between production locations and consumers and transport of food and water from areas with a surplus to areas with shortage.

Blue economy-specific
Due to increasing prosperity, urbanization and industrialization leads to changes demand and availability of food and water. The availability is under pressure, because of climate change and sustainability issues. Increased prosperity leads to changes in diet, especially increased consumption of meat and fish.
With the growing demand for food and fresh water aquacultures and desalination will become key drivers. Multi-use offshore platforms will be developed, aiming at reducing costs, by combining different offshore production facilities like wind energy with aquacultures.

Looking at the fishery industry, there is a growing concern for sustainability issues. These include overutilization of fishing grounds and declining fishing populations and the influence of large fishing vessels on the economic viability of local fishers in developing countries. The abundance and distribution of fish populations shifts because of climate change, decreasing fisheries outputs.


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