Every year on 22nd March, World Water Day is observed. It aims to inform people about the global water crisis and reveal the importance of water in our day-to-day lives. Saving Water for the planet is one of the primary goals of Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. This blog sheds light on the water crisis across the globe and ways to save water.
Water Crisis Across the Globe
3% of water globally is fresh and the rest of the water is either frozen into glaciers or unavailable to use. Nearly 2 billion people are deprived of freshwater globally, and it is estimated that by 2040, almost 600 million people will face water scarcity. (UNICEF, 2017)
3.2 billion people live in agricultural areas, with significant water scarcity. (FAO, 2020)
Some fast facts about Global Water Crisis:
844 million people lack primary drinking water access across the globe. (downtoearth.org)
Nearly 2.3 billion people have no access to basic sanitation. (globalcitizen.org)
By 2050, at least 1 in 4 people are projected to live in countries affected by recurring fresh water shortages. (undp.org)
Why is it necessary to save Water?
We are aware that water is an essential part of life. We need it to perform daily activities like bathing, drinking, cooking, etc. Plants need it to grow, and animals need it to quench their thirst. It is equally essential for aquatic life because we may lose significant species from the planet if we do not save water.
What will happen if we run out of Water?
It is important to remember that the world is already in the middle of the water crisis. Every year millions of people die due to poor sanitation and not getting enough fresh water to drink. Just imagine if all water on the earth becomes undrinkable; what would happen.
The earth will become like an abandoned desert, and within a short span of time, we may run out of vegetation, drinking water, etcetera. The temperature of the earth will rise, the oxygen levels will drop, and it won't be easy to survive on the planet. If we don't change our habits eventually, our existence will be impacted.
What are the reasons behind water scarcity?
There are millions of people who do not have access to water. The scarcity of water is occurring because of the below reasons:
- Rising Population: Water scarcity is a significant result of the rising population and water's growing demands. More population means more water is required, not only for domestic, industrial use but also for producing more food.
- Wastage of Water: Knowingly or unknowingly, people use water excessively. It is wasted in certain activities like flood irrigation, water-intensive wet cooling at thermal power plants. Also, about 80% of the global wastewater is discharged into nature without treating it for reuse, leading to water wastage.
- Global Warming: With the rising population, the number of vehicles and air conditioners is also rising, elevating the levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Alongside, people need land to live on, so deforestation is happening at a fast pace. Moreover, the burning of fossil fuels like coal causes the greenhouse effect. This leads to the temperature rise of the earth. The rising temperature causes the evaporation of water from rivers and oceans.
- Water Pollution: Illegal dumping of waste from factories into the water bodies leads to severe water pollution, making it almost impossible for nearby people to use water from that water body. Such acts make the Water polluted and unsafe for use.
- Natural Disasters: Natural calamities like floods, droughts, tsunami, and many more can also lead to water crises globally. Such disasters contaminate Water with chemicals, livestock waste, human sewage, and other impurities leaving it unfit for use. This also impacts the groundwater level and makes it hard to dig and locate freshwater underneath the earth.
- Lack of Awareness: Though we have made unbeatable advancements in science and technology, we are still away from providing education to every nook and corner of the world. Lack of awareness of the importance of Water among the general public is one of the major reasons behind the water crisis. They are not aware of the repercussions of the decreasing levels of Water.
What are the effects of water scarcity on the globe?
The water crisis has devastating effects worldwide in the following ways:
- Lack of access to drinking water: With rising water scarcity, there are high chances of not finding fresh water for drinking and other purposes.
- Disease: Lack of access to clean drinking water will further lead to the spread of the epidemic. It will not matter that you drink water or use it for other purposes; the germs will enter your body and make you fall sick. This can also prove fatal.
- Hunger: Water scarcity could lead to hunger as it will be challenging to grow healthy crops and vegetables. Farming needs irrigation, and irrigation is only possible with water. So, if there will be no water, there will be no food.
- Vanishing of all living beings: With little to no water access, wild and aquatic lives may get vanish. Animals cannot speak, but they also feel hungry and thirsty as humans. If they do not receive enough clean water, they may go towards extinction. Moreover, water is necessary for all species on this planet.
- Migration: If people of a particular area will not have access to healthy water, they will undoubtedly move to either other parts of the city, country, or even the globe. We need livelihood to survive; therefore, in such cases, shifting from one area to another can be expected.
- Energy Shortage: With modernization and increasing population, world energy requirements are also rapidly increasing. Producing electricity consumes a hefty amount of water. In the United States, thermoelectric powerplants are accounted for 38% of freshwater. Electricity demands across the globe are projected to grow up to 70% worldwide. Therefore, if there is not enough water, we may run out of electricity too.
- The loss to the Economy: If people start to migrate to better places to access water and more electricity, it will be challenging to have a thriving economy. The primary workforce will move out, leaving behind their jobs and homes. This will adversely impact the economy.
There are plenty of easy but effective ways to save water:
- Educate People: Education plays a vital role in saving water from scarcity. If we start to educate people on how water is essential for all of us and all living forms, we can save water and our planet earth also. They must know how much water is required for what purpose.
- Water Harvesting: Rainwater harvesting and recycling wastewater can help save water for the planet. There is plenty of technology to recycle water. You can also harvest rainwater at home and use it for specific purposes like washing, gardening, etcetera.
- Better Water Distribution Infrastructure: Many people worldwide are not yet connected to good water infrastructure. They have to walk long distances to fetch water for their perusal. These people often rely on fountains and wells to meet their water needs. This may not work in climatic conditions. Therefore, each government should work in the direction of providing clean water to all its countrymen.
- Improve Sewage System: A proper sewage system leads to keeping water free from contamination. This will help prevent disease and migration of people to other areas. Hence, it will lead to an economic boost and improved health of people.
- Save Water in reservoirs: Government should build reservoirs to store water for future use. Building dams and reservoirs can help capture the water and prevent its loss to the ocean and sea. This water will not need desalination and can later be used at times of natural calamities like drought.
The Bottom Line
Water scarcity is a real problem that could have devastating impacts on all lives. Our planet's future stands on the foundation of the necessities, out of which one is Water. We must take stringent steps to save water if we want to save our future. This International Water Day, let's pledge to use water efficiently and try to save it as much as possible.
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