By Rebecca Shabad - 12/17/13 10:37 AM EST
Climate change could put millions more people at risk of water scarcity, a new study suggests.
Forty percent more people will be put at risk of chronic or absolute water scarcity due to changes in rainfall and evaporation that result from climate change, according to a report published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"We conclude that the combination of unmitigated climate change and further population growth will expose a significant fraction of the world population to chronic or absolute water scarcity," the report adds.
As the earth gets warmer, the reports says, an increasing share of the world’s population will be affected by “severe reductions” in water resources.
Water scarcity affects roughly 1.2 billion people around the world — one-fifth of the world’s population — according to the United Nations. Five hundred million people, the U.N. says, are approaching this situation and another 1.6 billion face economic water shortages.
By 2025, the U.N. projects 1.8 billion people will be living in countries with absolute water scarcity.