Guest post by John Hawthorne
The Water Scarcity Problem That’s Destroying Countries
Clean water. It’s something almost all of us take for granted. We turn on the tap, fill our cup, let some spill over, and then guzzle it down. It’s a privilege we fail to recognize.
There is a colossal water scarcity problem in the world. Millions of people struggle to find enough clean water to survive.
In order to move toward a solution, we need to first understand the problem. In this post, we’re going to help you understand the how, what, and why of the water scarcity problem.
The Staggering Lack Of Clean Water In The World
Over 884 million people worldwide live without clean water.
In order to better comprehend that staggering number, that’s the equivalent of:
- 1 in every 10 people on the planet’s surface.
- Twice the population of the United States.
- The whole of Europe.
Water scarcity is a harsh reality.
This year, some 1.1 billion people worldwide will lack access to any sort of water, and a total of 2.7 billion will find water scarce for at least one month of the year.
Out of those figures, 2.4 billion will have inadequate water sources and have to deal with a series of life threatening diseases.
In the year 2014, two million people died from diarrheal viruses and the ensuing complications. Out of those numbers, 43 percent were pre-adolescent children, most under the age of five.
Access to basic sanitation and clean affordable water, can save over 17 thousands folks a week.
In many cases, water, not oil, is the most precious commodity, with warlords and local mafias using the resource as a means of power and political pressure.
There are millions of people risking their lives and spending hours just for a clean gallon of water. Children go without any education, their sole responsibility trodding dozens of miles a day and fetching water.
In essence, a community without a viable source of clean water is destined for extinction. Clean water means economic growth, education, better income and healthy neighborhoods.
And the outlook isn’t any better:
By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. Although the surface of our planet is covered mainly by water, over 73 percent to be exact, only 3 percent of it is considered drinkable. And, to complicate matters, only ⅓ of that scant number is accessible to humans (the rest is tucked away in glaciers, and remote regions). Finding fresh water sources is an incredibly rare thing.
What Is Economic Water Scarcity?
In order to understand the water crisis, we need to understand the concept of economic water scarcity.
Economic water scarcity is a term that begun having a wide range appeal in mid-2007. It was defined as a condition caused by the lack of investment in water infrastructure.
The concept first came into play after researchers and policymakers, overseen by the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, conducted a 50-year study to determine the viability of sustaining life on Earth with the growing population problem. Their findings were less than hopeful.
The main aspects of economic water scarcity are:
- A lack of infrastructure with poor sanitation policies. The population has no other choice but to rely on rivers and lakes for their hydration.
- Much of the water is used for agriculture and domestic chores. Evidence suggests that in many cases the water is “recycled” for different uses. Bathing, laundry, livestock, cleaning and cooking water not only comes from the same source but is oftentimes reused from one chore to another.
- Large parts of the world, particularly in Africa, suffer from economic water scarcity. Developing the right infrastructure would lower the poverty line.
- Terrorist groups and local warlords use their own wealth and resources to create the needed infrastructure, the major caveat being that they control the pipeline and in turn use it for their own goals – mainly recruitment.
- Developing infrastructure in these areas not only requires funding but a complete overhaul of socio-political doctrines.
Consequences of water scarcity:
- Using unclean water, in many areas, leads to an upswell of different disease, some of which are fatal.
- In Africa, India and Latin America, women spend half of their day walking and hauling up water from a clear source. It is estimated that in the remotest parts of Africa, the female population spends a combined total of 40 billion hours a year walking to and from a well.
- Communities don’t have the time to grow. Most families waste a great deal of their productive hours dealing with the problems that arise from water scarcity. Access to clean water gives families time to go to school and earn an adequate income, helping them fight off poverty.
- It takes an enormous amount of water to grow crops, maintain livestock and ultimately feed a nation. Less water means a rise in endemic and localized famine.
- Less water means less sewage flow and more stagnant water. These pools, particularly in tropical and subtropical environments, often become fast breeding ground for insects and parasites. One of the most far reaching and prevalent insects is the mosquito, a known carrier of West Nile Virus, malaria, zika and other infections.
- Economies that, due to their natural landscapes could easily increase their gross income and national wealth through a busy tourist trade, have had no other choice but to close. Hotels, restaurants, shopping stores and other attractions are no longer able to maintain an adequate level of sanitation for visitors.
Countries with a high degree of water scarcity:
All countries suffer from water scarcity in one way or another.
For example, the United States, a nation that takes for granted the gift that is drinkable tap water, is in the midst of a major water crisis. The Western States, among them California, are having to cut back on water delivery to certain areas. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the region’s water supplier, will deliver 15% less water to cities in the greater Los Angeles area starting in July 2018.
Nonetheless, the US and other first world nations have the advantage of a growing and confident economy, one that can acclimate itself to any sort of natural woe by investing heavily in infrastructure.
The United Nations considers water scarcity to be one of the most detrimental and crippling crisis attacking struggling economies and communities.
The Millennium Development Goals established the necessity of making water scarcity a key problem to eradicate. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, following the Millennium Summit, aimed to “halve the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water.”
While we may not have solved the problem of water scarcity, we’re certainly making an effort to minimize the problem in as many ways as possible.
Audrey Hepburn said, “Water is life, and clean water means health.”
She knew what she was talking about.
This article originally appeared here at https://businessconnectworld.com/2017/11/16/water-scarcity-problem-thats-destroying-countries/ and has been republished with permission from https://businessconnectworld.com
More reading – Freshwater Is Disappearing. Can Technology Save Us?