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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reserch on Water Scarcity

It is estimated that over one billion people, or about one-sixth of the world's population, does not have access to fresh water. Although water is one of the most common resources on the planet, only 2.5% of it can actually be consumed, and the rest is salt water. Of that 2.5%, two-thirds is confined to glaciers and permanent snow cover. Only a fraction of the world's water is liquid freshwater, and it is increasingly the subject of conflict and strife as it becomes less available.
With increasing world population, there is an increasing thirst, and increasing water scarcity.  Africa is at the greatest risk of suffering from “Water Stress.” In Mexico City, most of the water problems are caused by man. Sydney suffers from drought also, which they call “the Big Dry.” Palestine is being occupied, and Israel controls most of the water. There is an increased risk of water caused war throughout the world.
            Nomads go further west, trying to push farmers off their land, all because of water.  There is no alternative fuel for water. Rich places on the coast can desalinate salt water, but this is not possible everywhere. There are low cost solutions: Rain water harvesting is one of them, but it is just not enough. The places already in conflict or at the edge of conflict cannot be viewed as places where the military can help. There must be water. The military cannot solve water problems.  In each part of the world, we need a much more scientific approach to solving the water problem.
            Economic water scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in water or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water. Symptoms of economic water scarcity include a lack of infrastructure, with people often having to fetch water from rivers for domestic and agricultural uses. Large parts of Africa suffer from economic water scarcity; developing water infrastructure there could therefore help to reduce poverty. Critical conditions often arise for economically poor and politically weak communities living in already dry environments. Some 2.8 billion people currently live in water-scarce areas.
            People used to think that the earth had an infinite source of water, but that was back when the world’s population was half what it is today. People were not as wealthy then as they are today, they didn’t drink as much, and ate less meat, so less water was needed to produce their food. They needed a third of the volume of water modern day people take from rivers. Today, the competition for water resources is much more intense. This is because there are now somewhere around seven billion people on the planet; their consumption of water-thirsty meat and vegetables is rising, and there is increasing competition for water from industry, urbanization and biofuel crops. Saving of water and improving of water management is possible, whatever the use (agriculture, industry, domestic use). Almost everywhere, water is wasted, and as long as people are not facing water scarcity (such as most of the US), they believe access to water is an obvious and natural thing. With urbanization and changes in lifestyle, water consumption is bound to increase. However, changes in food habits, for example, may reduce the problem.

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