Around 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water at any time, and a total of 2.7 billion people have to deal with water scarcity for at least one month of the year.
This is because many water systems are under stress from a growing human population. This means that rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or are becoming too polluted to use. Already, more than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. In addition, agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that water through inefficiency. With climate change altering weather patterns across the globe causing a mix of water shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others, it is estimated that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population could face water shortages as ecosystems continue to suffer. Yet there are organisations looking to solve the water scarcity issue in a number of different ways. This critical work is required since it is estimated that without it, the number of people without access to clean water will rise to 2-3 billion people by 2050.
Health, malnutrition, education and poverty are the main effected sectors of water scarcity.
If there is no water, or if the quality of the water is poor, health will be compromised. Contaminated water is the only option for millions of people, but this can carry water-borne diseases that can sometimes be fatal. When rivers cease flowing, insects breed on the stagnant water which increases the risk of malaria and other infections. If there is little or no water then keeping things sanitary is impossible.
We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. Thomas Fuller
Around 70 per cent of the earth’s water sources are used for farming of crops and livestock. Only 10 per cent is used for domestic use. The lower the amount of water available, the lower the farm yields which could lead to the death of animals, as well as hunger, thirst and a low quality of life.
For those who have to wake at dawn to collect water for the family from a source several miles from home, the chances are reduced that they will be able to attend school as a result. In some places, girls and women are forbidden to attend school so that they can serve the family by getting water and taking care of other family needs.
Access to quality water is vital for nearly all economic activities that promote economic prosperity and improved living standards. Restaurants, hotels and shopping malls, manufacturers, farms, and many other production processes all need a good supply of water to thrive. Lack of water reduces these activities, reducing employing and keeping people within the cycle of poverty.
Effluent water is recycled and waste sludge is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant, which uses the methane as a fuel to produce renewable energy in Israel, which has proven that with the right technology, economic resources and political determination, water availability can be supported. Israel’s water treatment systems also recaptures 86 per cent of drain water. Spain comes second, recycling 19 per cent of drain water.
Increased water shortages around the world have been blamed for some of the world’s recent wars. Syria suffered a severe drought between 2007 and 2010 which drove thousands off the land and into Syria’s cities, where they were not welcomed. The lack of opportunity for those forced off degraded land is said to have made it easier for these individuals to be radicalised. Whilst there may be predictions of a bleak future, there are solutions for nations to implement to turn the tide away from catastrophic water shortage.