“Despite putting the blame on population increase, it should not be surprising that global warming has played its part in the depletion of our water supply”
In the year 1800, there were approximately 978 million people living in the world. Two hundred years later, that figure rose to around more than 6 billion people. With the increase in the number of people comes an increased demand for freshwater, a renewable but limited resource.
Many national governments and international organizations have not taken the freshwater crisis seriously. In an article written by Richie Mogwai for Orato.com, the United Nations (UN) has stated that the world maybe on the verge of seeing its first water war, with the first opponents being India and Pakistan with their thirst for water within the disputed Kashmir region. Yet still, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as even stated that there is no global water crisis.
Although FAO made such a statement, it does acknowledge that by 2030, one in five developing countries will face water shortage. California water officials have also expressed great concern with their water supply. They predict that by 2020, the region will face a shortfall nearly as great as it consumed today.
Despite putting the blame on population increase, it should not be surprising that global warming has played its part in the depletion of our water supply. Most of the earth’s fresh water comes from the polar ice caps and glaciers and with rising temperatures, we can expect the total disappearance of our main water supply within a few decades.
Therefore, it is not simply enough for our government to acknowledge that there is a water crisis on a global scale. Certain measures and policies need to be made immediately.
For example, more of our tax dollars should be invested in developing sustainable energy in order to reduce the continual use and production of coal-burning, gas or nuclear power infrastructure. Simultaneously the UN needs to take measure to ensure that everyone, especially those residing in developing countries have access to safe drinking water. In the last decade, global coverage rose from 77% to 82%, meaning that nearly 1 billion gained access to drinking safe water. However, another 1.1 billion people still lack access.
Despite the severity, the global water crisis should not simply be seen as a potential disaster for humanity. The crisis has allowed for the investment and development of sustainable energy. In economic terms, it is the financial as well as the environmental future. In the same way oil was, there is huge potential for investment and employment with sustainable energy.
One type of sustainable energy that has recently been introduced is desalination. It is several processes that remove excess salt and other minerals from water. The Middle East region has extensively used desalination, given its relative water scarcity.
71% of the Earth is covered in water, but only 3% of that water is fresh water
Although largely more expensive than using rivers and reservoirs, desalination is at the very least a short-term solution to the water crisis. 71% of the Earth is covered in water, but only 3% of that water is fresh water. With such figures, is it imperative that we should be able to gain access to the rest of the 97% of water that encompasses the Earth. At the very least, it should release much pressure from our freshwater supply.
This issue is not longer the concern of one or two countries, or even a region. It is now the responsibility of very nation, of very person living on this planet. We have but two options. Either we establish cooperative measures that will not only ensure our own survival, but will enable us to progress financially, technologically, politically, economically and socially, or we can destroy ourselves through our own selfish acts.
By Luis G. Marquez, Staff Writer
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