Friday, March 21, 2014

Is the global water crisis real?

Water is the essential component of global life support system. Water makes up more than about 70% of the weight of most organisms. It is the bloodstream of the biosphere. There is enough freshwater on the planet for 6 billion people, but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed. Drought, floods and scarcity have caused significant global instability and conflict. The need for freshwater rises as function of population growth, urbanization and increases in households and industrial uses.  As water use increases, pollution of water also increases. As water scarcity increases, the cost of water also increases. The per capita consumption of water is also unevenly distributed.  The per capita consumption in the U.S is about 2300m3 per annum as compared to 1500m3 for the Canadians and 225m3 for the British. The average per capita consumption of water in developing countries ranges from 20 to 40 m3.

Categories of water problems

The problems can be grouped into 3 main headings:
Availability – water availability
Access – water access to ‘take home’ water.
Usage – water use

Present water crisis

Is there really a water crisis? YES, world is facing a water crisis today. Of a word population of 6.1 billion, more than 1 billion lack access to safe water. About 5 million people die each year from water shortage or water borne diseases. More than 40% of the world’s population in 80 countries suffers from chronic water shortages. At least 50% of the world population currently suffer from water pollution, directly or indirectly.
Asian rivers have more than 3 times as many bacteria from human wastes than global average. Moreover Asian rivers carry 20 times more pollution load than industrialized countries. About 85% of Bangladesh groundwater is contaminated with arsenic poisoning.  Dental fluorosis, caused due to excessive fluoride in drinking water is more common in 17 states of Indian subcontinent.  About 37.7 million Indians affected by water borne diseases per year. Nearly 1.5 million children are estimated to die of diarrhoea alone. These data reveals the growth of demand for safe water, the decline in freshwater availability and adverse health impacts of poor water quality.

Rising water demand and future predictions

Since 1970, global demand for water has risen by 2.4% per annum (Clarke, 1993). As per statistics human use of freshwater has increased 4 times, since 1940. In future 1 out of 6 people will be without access to clean water. By 2025, 2 out of 3 people will be living with water shortage. Global water withdrawals expected to increase to 35% by the year 2020 (Rosegrant et al 1997).
World is facing a water crisis today.  Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available amount. Major water threats include issues such as scarcity and pollution. About 80% of the world’s population lives in areas where the freshwater supply is not secure. Millions of people deprived of water they need to live and to sustain their livelihood. Maintaining and ensuring the security of water is essential to humankind.

“By 2025, climate change will result in 1.4 billion people across 36 countries facing crop or water scarcity.” – World Bank.

Quotes on the importance of Water 

“All processes of life are directly or indirectly connected to water.
For this reason, water occupies a special place
in the problems of the environment.” – Wolfgang Ludwig.
“Water contributes much to health.” – Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC).
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” – Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732.
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” – Jacques Cousteau.

1 comment:

  1. Hi people,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to learn more about clean water crisis I think this is the right place for you!