Most people think that water is easily accesible to drink, just turn on a tap, fill a glass and drink but everyone in this world is not so lucky to experience this luxury. About 844 million people in the world deprived of water access. In this modern technological world, people walk, get in the queue for hours just to fill a bucket of water. Similarly, there are many people who are forced to drink contaminated water to survive.
We all know that water is one of the essential resources on the planet. It is life in general while it is everything in particular concerns. What will you do if suddenly your tap stops supplying the water? This is the condition of the water crisis
The water crisis is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage. It is the scarcity due to the physical shortage, failure of authority to ensure a regular supply and lack of sufficient infrastructure.
According to a report of the World Wide Fund (WWF), some 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year.
It is stated that the water crisis is listed as a fourth global risk in terms of impact on society.
When the water crisis is not a global scarcity, but the increasing population and the use of water for various purposes have increased the demand for water. The need for water stands more than twice compared to the population over the last century.
Its the government’s duty to provide safe and clean drinking water to every citizen of its country. However, contaminants including chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides, and other harmful substances are presented in the water.
Causes of the global water crisis
Water pollution is the primary cause of the water crisis in this modern world. People are polluting the natural water resources like rivers, ponds, wells, lakes by throwing garbage, mixing drainage, and sewage. Therefore, the water is undrinkable by the presence of harmful bacteria from human waste and toxic substances from industrial. Water pollution is not only affecting the health of human beings but also degrading aquatic ecosystems. Water pollution is one of the leading worldwide reasons for death and disease due to water-borne diseases.
The rise in population will increase the demand for water for household, industrial, agriculture, developmental work. Water covers 70% of the earth. However, only 3% of the water is drinkable water, and two-thirds of that is frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for use. The limited water supply and higher population have a huge gap between demand and supply, which is a leading cause of the water crisis in the world.
Overuse of water
A water crisis is not a global issue, but there are many parts of the world where people are suffering or walking miles to get a bucket of water. The water is getting wasted due to the lack of infrastructure and the lack of equal distribution. About 70% of the world’s available freshwater used in agriculture; however, a total of 60% of the used water is wasted.
Drought is also responsible for the water crisis. Drought is a situation of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric, surface, or groundwater. Drought can cause an impact on living beings if the water resources are not being adequately managed and equally distributed.
Effects of water scarcity
Lack of pure drinking water will adversely affect the health of people. Currently, 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to clean, freshwater. Millions of People are compelled to drink contaminated water that causes water-borne diseases. The lack of drinking water may bring global epidemics.
If water is scarce, then agriculture production will be automatically decreased. The agriculture production, farming all depends upon the availability of water. The reduction of water resources will make it difficult for food production to manage the rising demand of the population.
A better health and prosperous life depend upon the availability of safe drinking water to the people of the region. Approximately, half of the world’s population will live in areas of high water stress by the year 2030, United Nations reported.
The water crisis not only affects the lives of humans and animals but also hampers the environment. Environmental degradation means deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources including air, water, and soil. The scarcity of water resources threatens ecosystems and biodiversity.
Solutions of water scarcity
There is no doubt that water plays a significant role in our daily life activities. As the world is facing a freshwater crisis, many solutions can prevent and conserve the life of people and the environment.
Water reuse and treatment
The basic idea of saving water is to reuse it again and again. It helps to reduce the water shortage in cities, hospitals, houses, schools, and industries. The strategy of the Zero-liquid discharge system is the process of reusing the water frequently without being discharged into the sewer or other external water systems. Such a system helps to reuse the wastewater effectively and can be used for other purposes such as cleaning, industrial processing, flushing toilets, irrigation, and so on.
Clean drinking water is the fundamental right of human beings; without it, life will cease to exist. Much of Earth’s water resources are being polluted each day by mixing contaminated chemicals, drainage, and plastics. Pollution is the ultimate cause of global warming. It has increased the temperature of the environment, leading to melting glaciers at a fast pace. Industries are also responsible for polluting the freshwater sources with biochemical or nuclear wastes. It is up to the human being to reduce the unbeatable level of population that is destroying the beauty of the planet. Likewise, air pollution also leads to contaminate the rainwater, which is a significant source of water for many people.
Rainwater harvesting is another way to prevent water shortage by collecting rainwater. The rainwater is stored in a large amount and used for various purposes such as watering gardens and lawns or in other kinds of non-drinking uses.
Desalinate is the process of filtering out the saltwater either from the ocean or from the ground and turning it into drinkable water. Desalination technology designed to curb water crisis problems in areas surrounded by seawater or brackish groundwater. Presently, more than 120 countries in the world operate the desalination plant. Today, the existing 21,000 desalination plants use 50 percent of seawater to produce fresh water.
Here are some of the major facts on global water crisis:
- In the historical records water shortage first appeared in the 1800s.
- About 844 million people around the world are suffering from a shortage of water. It’s more than one out of every 10 people on the planet.
- Women and girls spend an estimated 200 million hours to collect water every day.
- 700 million people worldwide may be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.
- The women in rural Africa walk 6 kilometers on average every day to collect 40 pounds of water.
- About 1 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases.
- A child dies from a water-related disease every 2 minutes.
- 260 billion dollars are lost each year due to the lack of basic water and sanitation.
- Diarrhea is the 3rd leading cause of child death. It kills one child every 60 seconds.
- 49 countries in the world are in water-stressed, 9 of which experience water scarcity and 21 are facing an absolute water crisis.
Cities and countries facing water crisis
Water Crisis in India
India has the second-largest population in the world. India ranks as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. About 163 million, which is 5% of India’s total population, is deprived of safe drinking water.
According to the report of WaterAid India is listed on the top 10 countries in the world with millions of inhabitants living without access to safe water. Poor water resource management, human-made waste, and lack of government planning are the critical reasons for the water crisis in India.
Almost two-thirds of India’s reservoirs are at risk of depleting below average water levels. According to a 2018 report by NITI Aayog, 21 Indian’s major cities are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.
No doubt that water scarcity will be the leading cause of India’s national political conflicting issues in the future. It has been estimated that water scarcity is expected to worsen as India’s population is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by 2050. It’s a sad fact that about 200,000 people die each year due to an inadequate supply of water contamination.
Water Crisis in Chennai
Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city where 4.9 million people are now running out of water crisis. The 2019 water crisis in Chennai is declared as “Day Zero”. The day when almost all the main reservoirs of the city had run dry and no water left to supply.
Chennai was highlighted four years ago for the unprecedented floods of December 2015. Now, the city is suffering from an entirely opposite situation. The situation is so devastating that the people are paying almost 216 dollars every day for 24,000 liters tanks. Despite soaring summer temperatures each day, thousands of people are forced to stand in the queue for hours in the hope of to fill a bucket of water to drink.
Chennai is exacerbated by climate change in recent years. The city is naturally prone to droughts and floods and some of the disasters are caused by human beings. The scarcity that the city is facing has several reasons including failure of the government campaign, man-made waste and climate change.
Due to the failure of collecting the sufficient rainwater campaign. The Tamil Nadu state government has been struggling to provide water to the local people. Likewise, another reason for water scarcity in Chennai is a man-made waste. Several ponds and lakes are filled with sewage and garbage.
As a result, most of Chennai’s people are now solely depend upon the government water tankers. Whereas, others are paying a large amount of money to private companies to supply the water. Recently, the government came with the idea to provide the water through the help of the train. On July 12, 2019, a train of 50 wagons filled with water was loaded in the Chennai city which was battling with acute water shortage.
Water Crisis in Pakistan
Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage. The crisis is increasing each day with the pace of the growing population rate. Researchers and experts have alerted Pakistan about the upcoming water crisis. According to them, the water crisis is the biggest threat to Pakistan than terrorism.
Pakistan has been ranked as the third most affected country by an acute water shortage, as reported in an International Mandatory Fund (IMF). Researchers have also predicted that Pakistan will be the most water-stressed country in the region by the year 2040.
Global warming and climate change have affected the annual rainfall pattern. About 95 percent of freshwater is being wasted in the irrigation and yet the country is receiving a lower production.
The major responsible factors of the water crisis in Pakistan are due to the rapid population growth, wastage of water, insufficient dams, lack of awareness.
Therefore, it is necessary to address the possible solution timely before it gets worse. The Pakistan government should come up with strong water policies and plans. Likewise, the construction of water reservoirs, plantation of trees, public awareness and management of wastewater are the possible solutions to minimize the crisis.
Water Crisis in Cape Town
The coastal paradise of 4 million population of South Africa suffered from an acute water crisis for three months. Cape Town became the first modern city in the world to entirely run out of water.
On April 21st,2018, Cape Town municipalities officially announced Day Zero. On that day municipal water supplies largely are shut off, and residents rely on 140 water collection points around to collect a daily water ration of 25 liters per person per day.
Day zero was continued from April 21st to April 16th. The date was one of the largest drought-induced municipal water failures in modern history. Significantly, Capetonians reduce their water use and finally on June 28, 2018, Day Zero was postponed indefinitely.
Low rainfall patterns, global warming, population growth, unpredictable weather condition, and government mismanagement are some of the major factors in creating one of the worst urban water crises.
The Cape Town region experienced below-average rainfall and a very dry hot summer. The stored volume of water has decreased since 2013. The period of 2015-2017 years had an extremely low rainfall which leads to the water crisis in the town. It was considered as the driest three-year duration in more than 80 years. Trees plantation, desalination, population control, public awareness and government attention towards water management can save the city from becoming more vulnerable in the water crisis.
Although Cape town has slowly come out of their drought and successfully reduce their water consumption. Still, they are not out of this crisis. Today, Day Zero stands at an unnamed date in 2019.
Water Crisis in Nepal
Nepal is the home to the beautiful landscape, mountains, biodiversity. In a country portrayed as rich in water resources, people are facing an acute water shortage. It sounds paradoxical that the country which has 6,000 rivers is in the water crisis.
According to the report published by the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation, even though an estimated 80% of the total population has access to water sources over the past years. However, only 12-15 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water. Likewise, 18% of the Nepal population and nearly 5 million do not have safe sources of drinking water.
As stated by the Department of Water Supply and sewerage (DWSS), an average per capita consumption of water was 35 liters per day earlier now it has increased by double. Around 50-100 liters water is used in rural areas and 100-135 liters in urban areas. It is estimated that Nepal demands 175 MLD water but the supply of drinking water is about 115 MLD. The water supply meets only 65% of the total demand and the rest of others are depending on other natural sources. About 35% of people rely on groundwaters, stone spouts, wells, spring water, etc.
The lack of government management, lack of equal water distribution, wastewater, water pollution, agriculture pesticides, deforestation, environmental degradation are the major causes of the water crisis in Nepal. People in the city area especially in Kathmandu rely on water tankers, jar water, and a long queue to get drinking water. Despite the existence of numerous resources, almost 13 million people living in the hills and mountains of Nepal depends on spring water.
Water-borne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera are the major threat of death in Nepal. It is estimated that 44,000 children dying every year in Nepal due to waterborne diseases.
Nepal is rich in water resources it is just that it needs the management, protection, and conservation which could provide safe drinking water to everyone. Rainwater harvesting, construction of water infrastructure, building water treatment plants, control water pollution, public awareness are some of the measures that can be immediately addressed to minimize this crisis.
California water crisis
California has almost 40 million population growing each year with a rate of 9%. California; as the world’s most productive water system serves over 40 million acre-feet of water per year. After more than seven years of struggle and controversy, California is now free of drought. California water crisis was in the debate, whether the state should increase the water supply in agriculture and urban sectors or conserve and preserve the natural ecosystem of the water sources. Increasing population, maximum use of water in agriculture, global warming are some of the major reasons that water supply is becoming less reliable in California.
Groundwater and surface water are the main sources of California water. Forty percent of freshwater is taken from the groundwater. As the other water sources begin to shrink, more groundwater is pumped.
While California is becoming more depended on the groundwater, in some areas the presence of arsenic in the groundwater is a threat to human health. It has been accelerated during the period of drought between 2012-2016.
According to the California State Water Resources Control Board, California supply unsafe drinking water to more than 300 public water system. It is reported that more than one million people in California are exposed to unsafe water each year which is leading towards the public health crisis.
Flint water crisis
Flint water crisis started in 2014 where people of Flint city of Michigan deny drinking the less costly source of the Flint River, which is contained with lead and other toxins. Flint water crisis was born on that day when the residents of Flint found out the water smelling terrible, tasted like metal and give them skin allergy.
In 2017 the government officials asserted that the water quality had been maintained but in January 2019, residents and officials still express doubt in the water that has been supplied.
Now, the city of people is forced to use bottled or filtered water for drinking and other household purposes.
Water crisis threatens the world from every aspect, whether it’s economic, social, environmental, or political. About 40% of the world population faces a water crisis. If we don’t address this problem on time, then it’s not too far that the world will go on war to quench their thirst.
Mismanagement of water resources, climate change, population growth, water pollution, and lack of government attention are some of the main reasons for water scarcity around the world.
The water scarcity affects human beings as well as the entire ecosystem. So, It is essential to put effort into the plan and manage water supplies in the future.
Every year millions of people lost their life due to the water crisis and water borne-disease. They can also minimize the problem which is created by human. To solve these problems, the whole world should unite and work together to mitigate this crisis. Equal distribution of water resources rationally, retreat polluted water, population control, public awareness, and reduce water pollution are some of the solutions that can be implemented immediately.
We all know that water is an essential factor that runs our daily life. So, the more we save the water, the more we can save the lives of people and the other organisms.