The effectiveness of population policy scenarios in reducing the combined impacts of population change and climate change on water resources is explored. One no-policy scenario and two scenarios with population policy assumptions are employed in combination with water availability under the SRES scenarios A1b, B1 and A2 for the impact analysis. The population data used are from the World Bank. The river discharges per grid of horizontal resolution 0.5° are obtained from the Total Runoff Integrating Pathways (TRIP) of the University of Tokyo, Japan. Unlike the population scenarios utilized in the SRES emission scenarios and the newest Representative Concentration Pathways, the scenarios employed in this research are based, even after 2050, on country-level rather than regional growth assumptions.
Our analysis implies that in combination with a more heterogeneous pattern of population changes across the world, a more convergent, environmentally friendly emissions scenario, such as B1, can result in a high-impact climate scenario, similar to A2, for the already water-stressed low latitudes. However, the effect of population change supersedes the changes in the climate scenarios. In 2100, Africa, Middle-East and parts of Asia are in extreme water-stress under all scenarios.