Water supply shrinking globally, drought-like conditions to be the new normal, research shows

The world is experiencing more intense rainfall but water supplies are shrinking to the point that drought-like conditions will become the new normal, research shows.

The University of NSW study, touted as the most exhaustive global analysis of rainfall and rivers to date, found that dry soil in catchments has been soaking up most of the world's rain, leaving less for water supplies.

"Less water is ending up where we can store it for later use. At the same time, more rain is overwhelming drainage infrastructure in towns and cities, leading to more urban flooding," Professor Ashish Sharma said in releasing the report today.