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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Digital Text
  • Lesson Plan
  • Data
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

Global, Africa


Google Docs

CFR Education: What Is Water Scarcity?

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  • In this section, students will learn what water scarcity is, how climate change is leading to increased water scarcity, and some possible solutions to combat this issue.
  • Students will read text and view visual aides to learn about some of the countries facing the most water scarcity around the world, how water consumption has increased, and what other negative impacts are associated with water scarcity.
  • This is the fifth section of the World 101 Climate Change module and includes a linked lesson plan for grades 9-12 and discussion guide for higher education classes.
Teaching Tips


  • The use of interactive visual aides helps students better understand the data associated with this topic.
  • This article also touches on the social inequities associated with weather events and water scarcity.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Some students may need the terms infrastructure, scarcity, pathogens, irrigation, and others defined prior to beginning the lesson.
  • There is a lesson plan and discussion guide linked at the top for teacher use. These resources are for the whole unit and do not have discussion questions or activities for this particular section.
  • Students should understand what climate change is, how humans are contributing to climate change, and some of the effects climate change has on the environment.


  • Math classes can download some of the data, analyze it, and answer questions about the many graphs provided in the article.
  • Students can choose a water scarcity solution to research further and write a speech or report about it to inform others about the solution.
  • Geography classes can have students choose a country with a water insecurity level of three or more and then research the effects of water scarcity and the possible solutions for that specific country.
  • If there are many students with low reading stamina, strategic grouping can be used to aid with comprehension.
Scientist Notes
This website from World 101 and the Council on Foreign Relations provides a great resource for teachers looking to teach their students about climate change and the effects of water scarcity. The site provides an informative and interactive discussion of the issue of year-round water scarcity or a lack of regular water access for at least one month of the year. Experts project this problem will only worsen as the world’s population grows and climate change becomes more severe. This resource explores the origins of water scarcity, the stakes of the problem, and possible solutions. Also included in this resource is a lesson plan that includes discussion questions, handouts, and a presentation. This resource is well researched and encompasses everything a teacher would need to give a lesson on the effects of climate change.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.12.9-12 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
      • D2.Geo.8.9-12 Evaluate the impact of economic activities and political decisions on spatial patterns within and among urban, suburban, and rural regions.
  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.12.3 Analyze how environment and personal health are interrelated.
  • Related Resources


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