Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region. This scarcity is believed to affect almost every continent and studies show that more than two billion people around the world face this problem at least once a year.
Water scarcity involves water stress, water shortage and water crisis. Water crisis is a situation when available potable and unpolluted water is less than the region’s demand for water. The different reasons that attribute to water crisis around the world are
The planet is becoming warmer and making the hottest areas more scorching. At the same time clouds are moving away from equator, towards the poles, due to the phenomenon called Hadley cell expansion. This phenomenon contributes for lesser rains in equatorial regions like Central Africa, Middle and Central America. Climate changes increase precipitation in areas and people living close to rivers and streams are exposed most.
Depletion of Ground Water
Thirty percent of earth’s fresh water lies deep in the form of ground water which is used for farming, drinking and industrial processes. Most of the ground water resources around the world, especially in India are being depleted in a faster rate than they are being replenished. It is believed that sixty percent of India’s underground water resources would be in a critical condition in next twenty years, if no major action is taken. Global water supplies are declining in an alarming rate which is a growing threat to the world.
Ignoring Natural Infrastructure
To get clean and plentiful water, natural ecosystems like healthy ecosystems play a vital role. These ecosystems help in filtering pollutants, buffering against floods and thus help in maintaining good water supply. Plants and trees would control the flow of rain water and help them seep into land, thus contributing towards replenishing ground water. Urbanization in the form of deforestation and overgrazing is depleting natural infrastructure and so the benefits given by them are also decreased.
Richer People Demand More Water
As population increases and their income grow, their demand for water is also in rise. In short it can be said that as people’s income grows, the water problem also grows because demand for water intensive products like meat and fossil fuels use would also increase.
Water infrastructure used for transportation, treatment and discharging is in a pathetic state. Leakage is the most common problem with treatment plants, pipes and sewer systems. Since repairing the already existing infrastructure is quite expensive, many localities ignore the leakage problem until a disaster strikes.
Wastage of water
Water around world is wasted especially in practices like flood irrigation and water intensive wet cooling at thermal power plants. Polluting of available water at a high rate and not treating the water is posing the risk of losing the precious resource. In many countries it is cheaper to get clean water than treating the used or disposed water, so people prefer disposing of water than treating it and reusing.
Since water is not priced correctly across the globe, people are failing to realize its value and wasting it at a faster rate. Governments, business and citizens are just waking up and beginning to take actions to save this resource. More sincere and dedicated programmes are required to ensure a good sustainable future.