A new research has pointed out that population growth, urbanisation, increasing pollution, soil erosion and climate variations will contribute towards water-related conflicts.
According to the Water and Development Research Group at Aalto University, the situation is particularly difficult in many developing countries, where there are growing concerns over escalating water crises and even outright water conflicts.
"The current rate of population growth and urbanisation are already impacting food production. We need to improve the efficiency of agricultural output, as it's unlikely that the acreage under cultivation can be much increased. Improved efficiency requires the efficient use of water resources," Professor Olli Varis, from the Water and Development Research Group said.
The Group's main research interests include integrated approaches to the management and planning of water resources as well as international water issues.
Professor Varis further pointed out that the utility of existing water resources is being adversely affected by increasing industrial pollution and the breakdown of natural material circulation.
"Up to 60 per cent of the world's population live in countries that suffer from water shortages, and that figure will rise sharply in the future," he said.
Water-related conflicts are particularly clearly visible in the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia, the report said.
At an estimated length of almost 5,000 kilometres, the Mekong is one of the world's largest free-flowing river systems. However, China, Laos and other countries in the region are now driving to harness these water resources, particularly for hydropower production.