Environmental Policy, Reflection 1

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There is a fundamental resource that has an impact everyday on all of our lives. We use it in cooking, farming, agriculture, machines, cleaning, recreation, and for industry purposes. We need it to survive and to go about our lives normally. This resource is water and although it may be taken for granted that it will always be there, the ever growing needs of our seven billion people society is pushing our planet to its limit to provide us potable water. This essay will attempt to describe how a lack of water is a problem, why it’s an issue of sustainability, describe technical disputes, what stifles effective policy making, and discuss my personal beliefs on the matter.

Water is a highly valuable resource that has only somewhat recently been recognized as something that is not infinite. Not until the mid-1980s did water resources begin to show signs of stress and it wasn’t until the beginning of the twenty first century that many countries began dealing with a lack of fresh water (1). Much of the need for water does not necessarily have to do with it being used to satisfy obvious needs like drinking, but rather its necessity to grow food or to help keep a sanitary environment. As the world’s population continues to grow exponentially, the need to feed everyone grows exponentially as well at alarming rates. The amount of water it takes to produce certain kinds of food can be quite staggering at times. Beef, for example, can cost up to three thousand gallons to grow only one kilogram (1). Clearly there is a link between water availability and famine when rains don’t come or rivers dry up, but water scarcity it can also lead to problems of environmental decline and social unrest.

One of the primary factors to water scarcity has to do with the impact of population growth. The UN estimates that people need about fifty liters of water for their basic needs throughout a day, but this estimate omits the water needed for industrial purposes, growing...
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