Water Scarcity Facts

When the Well Runs Dry

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TheWorldCounts, 16 May, 2015

When the Well Runs Dry

Thinking of the many ways a human being can perish, one of the scariest I can imagine is being in the middle of the ocean and dying of thirst. Can you conceive of it? All that water and not a drop to drink?

Is it possible for our specie to die of thirst when we live in a Blue Planet? Absolutely. We may have the technology to filter sea water and make it drinkable, but we won’t be able to do it fast enough and in a scale that would be big enough to meet the demands.

Our planet is ¾ covered in water, but most of that is saline water. Undrinkable. Only 2.5% of the liquid on our planet is Freshwater. We get our drink from the rivers, streams, groundwater, lakes and the rest is locked up on ice caps and glaciers.

Related Articles: Average Daily Water Use

The Pressure on our Water Resources

There has been an increased awareness on the need to manage our water resources during the past decade, but politics and economy still dictate which water policies will be implemented. We are not giving the issue the attention it deserves, in spite of the warnings from experts and the proof right before our eyes.

It has been estimated that with our current usage and population, by 2030, demand will exceed supply by 40% - around the world.

At the rate we’re consuming it, the replenishment will never catch up and we will end up living in a blue planet but dying of thirst or forced to drink contaminated water.

Some of the factors affecting our water supply are:

  • Continuous growth in population
  • Increased demand for food and livestock
  • Higher living standards
  • Migration of people from the rural areas to the cities
  • Pollution coming from the cities, factories and farmlands

The Lack of Fresh Water Today

Did you know that most of our freshwater is used for irrigation? 2/3 of everything we consume goes to raising our livestock and irrigating farmlands. Economic activities and industrial use accounts for less than 1/3. The rest is used by humans for their daily activities and as drinking water.

Related Articles: Is Your Water Clean?

It’s not just the dwindling water supply that’s raising a lot of concern. The quality of our remaining water is also at risk. Today, an estimated 3.5 billion people have no access to clean drinking water and around 2.5 billion are denied decent sanitation. Many people are dying from water borne diseases.

Related Article: How Does Water Pollution Affect Humans?

Poor waste management and the use of toxic chemicals in agriculture are all contributing to the contamination of our groundwater supply. Groundwater is so prone to bacteria and natural contamination that its condition is precarious.

What Are Our Options?

  • Conserving water is still the cheapest way. If every one of us stopped wasting it and be more conscious with our usage, we can make a difference
  • Improved local water management. Collecting rainwater and using that instead of freshwater.
  • Proper waste management. Don’t send everything to the landfill. This can help lighten the burden on our remaining freshwater supply.
  • Practice the 3 Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
  • Know the many ways humans use water and see where you can help cut down.
  • Report sources of water pollution to the proper organizations.
  • Help raise awareness

Read more about the state of our planet at the World Counts Stories. You’ll find many interesting facts that you may not have been aware of before.

References

  1. Lack of Fresh Water
  2. How Much Water Is There On, In and Above Earth?
  3. The Water Revolution is Here
  4. Introduction: Pressures on Water Resources
  5. Groundwater Quality

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