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Talk Notes: World Water Problems – July 19, 2015

Last Sunday we took a look at the growing water crisis that we are seeing in the world. Water levels are dropping, despite water use restrictions. Population growth and poor decisions on where to live are compounding the problem. Is there hope?

Some statistics from the talk:

  • 69.6% of fresh water is frozen
  • 0.3% is in lakes and wetlands
  • 30.1% is beneath the ground in natural aquifers
  • 95.7% of available water is salty

The problem is not a changing amount of water, it’s access to drinkable water. The world population keeps growing and the areas we choose to live are not the best for water access.

World Population:

  • 1800 A.D. – 1 Billion
  • 1930 A.D. – 2 Billion
  • 1975 A.D. – 4 Billion
  • Today – 7.3 Billion

Use and access

Americans use an average of 100 gallons of waters at home each day, while millions of the world’s poorest subsist on less than 5 gallons. 46% of people do not have water piped to their homes. Women in developing countries walk an average of 3.7 miles a day to get water.

It has been suggested that in 10 years 1.8 billion people will live in regions of severe weather scarcity.


The California Problem

Seventy percent of California’s water is for outside “niceties”. 80% of people live in the south of the state which gets only 30% of the rainfall. The imperial valley, where half of al U.S. vegetables are grown gets less than 3 inches of water per year. All of its water is piped in from other areas. The state has resorted to diverting and damming rivers to supply water for a population that is trying to maintain a growing existence in the desert.

The Tibetan Water Source

The Tibetan Plateau supplies water for many major rivers in Asia. It contains nearly 37000 glaciers (the largest amount of water outside the North and South poles). 2 Billion people in the world depend on it. Chinese Scientists believe that 40% of its glaciers will disappear in 35 years time.

Rivalry and Conflict

The word rivalry comes from the Latin rivalis, describing conflict over water or streams. We have seen much conflict over world water supplies:

  • In Genesis 26 Isaac fought many battles over wells he had dug for his cattle.
  • In Exodus 17:1-4 Israel wanted to kill their leader and head back to Egypt because of a lack of water.
  • Water use in the Jordan River was a huge contributor to the 1967 war in the Middle East.
  • Of the 37 actual conflicts over water since 1950, 30 of them took place in the Middle East, and they involved Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
    Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
    Therefore our hope is in you,
    for you are the one who does all this. Jeremiah 14:22 – NIV

Will humankind solve the water problem?

All of that information is nice, but what does the bible have to say about this?

  • God has control over the water. Job 38:8-11, 22, 25-30, 38
  • Life occurs when God waters the earth. Psalm 65:9-13
  • God can convert deserts into oceans. Psalm 107:35
  • In the past, God promised to bless Israel with water if they remained faithful. Deuteronomy 28:12
  • He would take away their water if they departed from his wise instructions. Deuteronomy 28:23,24
  • Mankind can’t control the water system – Jeremiah 14:22
  • Water is a blessing from God to men – Acts 14:17

Jesus Christ will

When Jesus Christ returns to setup the kingdom on the earth, many changes to the earth will take place:

  • God will open the rivers and cause trees to grow in the desert – Isaiah 41:17-20
  • Earth will be so productive that grain will grown on the mountains – Psalm 72:16
  • God will give water to those who are “his people” – Isaiah 43:20
  • Water will be granted or restricted according to the behaviour of world nations and leaders – Zechariah 14:15-19
  • God will cause “living water” to flow from his Temple to give life to the land, creatures and people – Zechariah 14:8, Ezekiel 47


Water access and supply is a growing issue. Our overuse, growing population and lack of access will continue to cause problems in the world. We can and should do our best now to be responsible, but the problem will grow until God sends his son to solve all these problems.

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