Global Water Scarcity - Problems And Solutions
Posted: 23.12.2009 author: Tater, Prof. Dr. Sohan Raj
Importance of Water
Water is a source of life of every living organism. Without water living beings cannot survive their lives. There is 60% water in human gross body. It is a natural resource that sustains our environments and supports livelihood. Water is the blue gold, and that future wars will be fought for water. So, not a single drop of water received from rain should be allowed to escape into the sea without being utilized for human benefit. The vast majority of the Earth’s water resources are salty water, with only 2.5% being fresh water. Approximately 70% of fresh water available on planet is in the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland leaving the remaining 0.7% of total water resources worldwide available for consumption. However from this 0.7%, roughly 87% is allocated to agricultural purposes. These statistics are particularly illustrative of the drastic problem of water scarcity facing humanity. Water scarcity is defined as per capital supplies less than 1700 M3/year. The comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture revealed that one in three people are already facing water shortage (2007). Around 1.2 billion people, or almost one-fifth of the world’s population, live in areas of physical scarcity, while another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers); nearly all of which are in the developing countries. Agriculture is a significant cause of water scarcity in much of the world since crop production requires upto 70 times more water than is used in drinking and other domestic purposes. The report says that a rule of thumb is that each calorie consumed as food requires about one litre of water to produce. The amount of water in the world is finite. The number of us is growing fast and our water use is growing even faster. A third of world’s population lives in water stressed countries now. By 2025, this is expected to rise to two-third. The UN recommends that people need a minimum of 50 litres of water a day for drinking, washing, cooking and sanitation. In 1990, over a billion people did not have even that. Causes of Global water Crisis
There are four main factors aggravating water scarcity:
* Population Growth: In the last century, world population has tripled. It is expected to rise from the present 6.5 billions to 8.9 billions by 2050. Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and although there is no global water scarcity as such, an increasing number of regions are chronically short of water. * Increased urbanization will focus on the demand for water among an over more concentrated population. Asian citizen alone are expected to grow by 1 billion people in the next 20 years. * High level of consumption: As the world becomes more developed, the amount of domestic water that each person used is expected to rise significantly. * Climate change will shrink the resources of fresh water (a) Pollution and disease
Global water consumption rose six fold between 1900 and 1995 more than double the rate of population growth – and goes on growing as farming, industry and domestic demand all increase. As important as quantity is quality – with pollution increasing in some areas, the amount of useable water declines. More than five millions people die from water-borne diseases each year, 10 times the number killed in wars around the globe. Seventy percent of water used world wide is used for agriculture, much more will be needed if we are to feed world’s growing population – predicted to rise from about six billion to 8.9 billion by 2050. Consumption will star further as more people expect western – style lifestyle and diets – one kilograms of grain fed beef needs at...
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