Toronto : Despite what appears to be an insurmountable problem, researchers have found that it is possible to turn the situation around and significantly reduce water scarcity in just over 35 years.

With strong commitment and strategic efforts such as increased water-recycling and improved irrigation techniques it is possible to achieve the above objective, the study indicated.

“Significant reductions in water-stressed populations are possible by 2050,” said co-author Yoshihide Wada from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Water stress occurs in an area where more than 40 percent of the available water from rivers is unavailable because it is already being used.

The researchers separated strategy areas for reducing water stress into “hard path” measures, involving building more reservoirs and increasing desalination efforts of sea water, and certain “soft path” measures.

The soft path involves focus on reducing water demand rather than increasing water supply with the help of community-scale efforts.

“There is no single silver bullet to deal with the problem around the world,” said co-author professor Tom Gleeson from McGill University in Canada.

“But, by looking at the problem on a global scale, we have calculated that if these strategies are applied at the same time we could actually stabilise the number of people in the world who are facing water stress,” Gleeson added.

Water stress currently affects about a third of the global population, and may affect as many as half the people in the world by the end of the century if the current pattern of water use continues.

The study appeared in the journal Nature Geoscience.