Nearly 3 billion additional urban dwellers are forecasted by 2050, an unprecedented wave of urban growth. While cities struggle to provide water to these new residents, they will also face equally unprecedented hydrologic changes due to global climate change.

The future adequacy of freshwater resources is difficult to assess, owing to a complex and rapidly changing geography of water supply and use. Numerical experiments combining climate model outputs, water budgets, and socioeconomic information along digitized river networks demonstrate that (i) a large proportion of the world's population is currently experiencing water stress and (ii) rising water demands greatly outweigh greenhouse warming in defining the state of global water systems to 2025.