What is a Water Crisis Exactly?
Both natural and manmade water scarcity results in a region's inability to meet its water requirements. Inequitable water distribution takes place both in time and in space. Too much of it is wasted due to pollution and bad management.
Though water scarcity does not exist worldwide, many cities and communities face ongoing shortages as demand has exceeded supply by more than two to one over the previous century. China, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, and several parts of Africa are experiencing water scarcity.
Causes of Water Crisis
There are many causes of water scarcity, but here are a few of them.
Most rural water sources are highly contaminated due to a lack of waste treatment facilities and suitable sanitary infrastructure. Rising worldwide pollution threatens clean drinking water, and the problem will only deteriorate over time.
The agricultural sector's overuse of groundwater reduces crop production and wastes precious water resources. More than 70% of our water supply is used to irrigate crops, yet much is wasted due to inadequate plumbing and watering practices.
Excessive and Inefficient Water Use
As a result, more water is wasted and discarded for no reason, worsening the problem. A single hamburger requires 630 gallons of water to produce.
The Environment is Changing
Rainfall is shifting southward in both hemispheres due to climate change, changing how water evaporates and where it rains. India's rain pattern has changed dramatically due to global warming. Monsoon rains used to last 45 days on average. This period has been decreased to 22 days due to the weakening of the monsoons.
Large river ecosystems have been purposefully destroyed due to human activity such as dam construction, other hydroelectric projects, and water diversion for agriculture.
Some people in positions of responsibility over the needy and homeless don't care about their condition.
The following issues have arisen as a result of water scarcity.
Water is necessary for all life forms, but every 90 seconds, a child dies from an avoidable sickness caused by a lack of clean water.
Every year, more than 1.5 billion individuals are affected by a water-related ailment, making it one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
3. There will be Battles
Regional conflicts have erupted due to the depletion of once-reliable water supplies.
Farmers cannot plant food when they lack access to water, which kills over a million people yearly.
5. Agricultural Issues
The agricultural output will be interrupted due to a lack of water. Groundwater levels have dropped in previously water-rich areas, and farmers are now unable to harvest crops.
Malnutrition, which raises the risk of illness and death, is caused by a lack of water and the inability to cultivate food.
7. The Water Crisis and Its Economic Consequences
The extra effort to acquire water costs $24 billion in lost productivity yearly.
8. The Environmental Impacts of the Water Crisis
- First, there is a higher occurrence of salt levels.
- Because of the algal bloom, high nitrate levels in groundwater make it unsafe to drink.
- Riverbeds are drying up, and habitat is disappearing due to human development.
- The primary culprits are poor farming practices and population increase. As a result, disadvantaged communities see habitat degradation and a decline in the water supply.
- Water scarcity has a severe impact on ecosystems. The Aral Sea in central Asia, once the world's fourth-largest freshwater lake, has decreased by an area comparable to Lake Michigan in barely three decades.
- The region the sea used to cover has become contaminated due to its retreat. As a result of this ecological calamity, neonatal mortality has increased, and life expectancy has decreased among the local population.
According to UNICEF,
- Approximately four billion people, or almost two-thirds of the global population, face acute water shortages annually for at least one month.
- More than two billion people live in places where there isn't enough clean water to go around.
- By 2025, half the world's population may be living in places with severe water shortages.
- By 2030, severe water shortages might force some 700 million people to relocate.
- One-quarter of the world's youngsters will live in regions of severe water stress by 2040.
- More than millions of people die due to water scarcity. If more people had access to clean water and toilets, we could save almost a million lives a year from illnesses linked to poor sanitation and hygiene. We could stop wars and have peaceful lives!
5 Young Leaders Who Are Fighting Water Scarcity
Young leaders from across the globe who have worked for water crises include:
1. Heloise Greeff
Heloise is a Ph.D. researcher at the Computational Health Informatics Lab at the University of Oxford. She is developing Smart Water Systems for hand pumps in drought-stricken areas. The project's primary purpose is to improve global water security through developing and deploying revolutionary mobile technologies. Heloise is developing the algorithms required to predict pump failures and arrange repair in a timely way. They may also assess groundwater levels and users based on pumping characteristics to assist public policy in these rural places.
2. James Thuch Madhier
The Rainmaker Enterprise was formed by James Thuch Madhier, Ambassador of South Sudan. The group's mission is to permanently end hunger and water warfare by discovering long-term solutions to these issues. James intends to construct a farm with micro-drip irrigation and a solar-powered pump to provide water for livestock. Products may be offered reasonably to small farmers in Wau, South Sudan.
3. Hermella Woldehana
Drop of Water was founded by Hermella Woldehana, inspired by Water.org co-founders Matt Damon and Gary White. The drop of Water improves the lives of tens of thousands of people in rural Ethiopia by delivering clean, safe drinking water. Over 3,000 volunteers have been enlisted to assist the organization in bringing about a sanitation and water revolution in her country.
4. Seshana Aviananda
Seshana serves as the organization's Water Credit Officer in Indonesia. She supports the organization's Water Credit Programme, which assists local groups in increasing their capacity to act as rural water suppliers. She holds a degree in Environmental Engineering and is now researching grassroots environmental solutions in West Java, Indonesia.
5. Min Woo Kim
Min Woo is pronounced Kim Min Woo and has used his position as president of the Asia Pacific Youth Parliament for Water to bring together young people from throughout the Asia Pacific area. He has participated in and attended several international water and environment conferences, networks, and parliaments from Sweden to Thailand. He founded the International Youth Steering Committee and facilitated young people's participation in these organizations worldwide. Youth delegates worldwide have banded together to prepare for the 2015 7th Globe Water Forum. Min Woo traveled to Thailand for the ASEAN Water Dialogue Conference and presented the Youth Media Competition, encouraging young people to use social media throughout the event.
What We Can Do Together to End the Global Water Crisis
1. Donating to Charities That Focus on Water Issues
Giving to charity can assist a little bit; charities build wells, septic systems, and irrigation systems so that people in rural regions may have access to water.
While the United States government already gives $8 billion annually to combat the water shortage, experts estimate that a whopping $1 trillion is required to resolve the issue permanently.
3. Communicate the Message
The water crisis may be mitigated if people are more aware of its origins, impacts, and what they can do to aid the situation. Therefore, they will be better able to educate others and spread awareness.
Prompt new approaches to water reuse, conservation, and consumption and reward those who take the lead.
5. Enhanced Irrigation
Modify our current irrigation practices. About 70% of the freshwater on Earth is used for agriculture irrigation; however, this figure might be reduced significantly with better irrigation methods.
Essential agricultural techniques include growing low-water-use crops, installing leak-free irrigation systems, and creating farm water storage facilities. This may be useful for preserving forests and advancing agriculture.
6. Water Costs and Their Pricing
Find out how water price affects people's lives. To combat pollution, some have proposed raising the cost of water, but this would put it out of reach for the poor.
7. Desalination Plants That Save Money on Energy
We must immediately begin exploring options for improving the efficiency of existing desalination facilities. We can benefit millions of people all around the globe by lowering the amount of energy needed to power these plants.
8. Harvesting Water from the Rain
More extensive facilities and more advanced technology may considerably enhance the efficiency with which rainfall is collected in regions with limited groundwater supplies.
9. Pay Attention to Pollution
Pollution is a developing problem that has to be addressed by humanity as a whole. Numerous studies have been conducted; now is the moment to act swiftly to prevent massive human casualties.
10. Restricting Population Growth
Until we find a solution to the water problem, it would be wise to cap the population growth rate. This will allow for more precise estimates of future water demands over the next century.
11. Climate Change
Those in the know suggest that reducing the consequences of global warming by pursuing cleaner energies will assist with the water crisis as we develop more efficient methods of ensuring that water is clean and safe to drink.
12. Conveyance of Technological Advancements
Shared technical progress between more developed and less developed nations may be beneficial.
13. Being Aware
Raising people's consciousness is essential, especially in major cities. A solution to this situation requires public education and participation from all citizens, including a ban on bottled water and a reduction in wasteful water consumption.
14. Water Reuse and Reduction
Community-wide water conservation is crucial for relieving stress on aquifers and ensuring a steady supply of potable water. As a result, it is essential to create community-level water collecting infrastructure, such as water bodies.
15. Measures Taken at the Behest of Governing Bodies
Watershed development and monitoring groundwater consumption by farmers are two ways local governments may contribute to the water discourse. To safeguard and conserve water bodies/ponds, forests, groundwater, rivers, and streams, it is essential to establish the required mechanisms at the district and state levels to encourage farmers to make informed crop choices and to gather water via the use of watersheds.
16. Water Policy
The creation of a unified federal and state water policy is essential. This will help the government and the public make smart decisions about using surface water and groundwater. Likewise, transboundary and Interstate Rivers need management plans.
Goals for the Next 5-10 Years
Despite a threefold rise in global population during the last century, renewable water resources have been extensively utilized. The global population is expected to increase by 40-50 percent over the next half-century. Population growth, along with industrialization and urbanization, will result in a massive increase in water demand, with severe consequences for the natural world.
Every Drop of Water is Valuable
In December 2016, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) brought a new resolution - International Decade (2018-2028) for Action - Water for Sustainable Development. This will help to focus attention on the water during this decade.
The member countries of the General Assembly expressed their worry over people not having adequate access to clean drinking water, as well as grave issues of hygiene, sanitation, floods, Tsunamis, drought, and pollution. They also mentioned that these issues have become more severe due to climate change, desertification, population growth, and urbanization.
The purpose of the resolution is to sustainably develop and manage water resources to fulfill socio-economic and environmental goals. Moreover, it will shine a light on implementing and promoting related programs and projects and further collaboration at all levels. These efforts will bring all the stakeholders closer to achieving their common objectives regarding water resources and those included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Decade will focus on water issues worldwide, beginning on March 22, 2018, World Water Day, and ending on March 22, 2028, World Water Day.
For the third year in a row, the World Economic Forum named water scarcity one of the top three global challenges. The world will suffer immensely if we cannot adequately confront these dangers.
Famous Water Projects and Their Information
Current and future water shortages are critical, but they will be handled. On every continent, groups are working to solve this challenge. World Water Day 2015 celebrates eight groups making an impact in the water, among which we have picked the top five water projects,
1. The Pacific Institute
The Pacific Institute's research and educational products have advanced water conservation more than any other organization. They regularly report on water conservation, sustainability, water disputes, and agricultural and industrial water use. The World's Water is a biennial report on global freshwater supplies.
2. The WWC
The World Water Council promotes water conservation awareness and action. South Korea will host the 7th World Water Forum, where experts may network and share expertise.
3. Project WET
Project WET's programs involve teaching the next generation about the world's water crisis. Teachers receive materials on water-related themes like water conservation and resource management.
4. Clean Water Action
Clean Water Action has pushed for the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act for 40 years. They strive to close legal loopholes to protect freshwater sources. California is trying to enact a law allowing anyone to request well-log information secretly.
Co-founded by Matt Damon, Water.org offers unique solutions to the worldwide water dilemma, such as WaterCredit. Borrowers can utilize microloans for water to pay for infrastructure changes that boost their community's access to safe drinking water, then repay the cash. Locals help build and maintain water purifying systems.
A Future Without Water Crises
From what we read in the news, you may think that finding a sustainable solution to water scarcity is impossible. However, there is hope in the darkness. A solution to water shortage can be found through collaborative efforts between government, businesses, and civil society.
There is already the technology available. All that is needed is for all the stakeholders to work together and implement long-term effective solutions for the sustainability of water resources.