Water... Water... everywhere, but not a drop to drink??? How So? While seventy one percent of our planet is covered by water, it would seem that we could never run out of water. But did you know that of that seventy one percent water, ninety seven percent is salt water. Only the other three percent is fresh water, which is in the form of: oceans, glaciers, polar caps, lakes, rivers, and ground water. And out of this three percent, only one percent is available for use to nourish agriculture, humans, and animals and to run our factories. This leads me into the question I pose for the future.
Will there be enough drinking water to support mankind in the year 2025? And if the answer is no, is Industrialisation the principal cause for this? I would like to take a look at the factors that cause water crisis and in doing so I would like to prove beyond any doubt that there are more significant reasons than industrialisation, causing fresh water depletion. Throughout mankind’s four and a half million years on this planet, the world's fresh water reserves were more than adequate to serve human needs while maintaining the integrity and biological diversity of the earth's ecosystems.
As the population of this planet has grown, we have increasingly tapped deeper into our planet’s fresh water resources, when and where it is needed. Our available fresh water is static, there is essentially no more fresh water on the planet today than there was 2,000 years ago when the earth's human population was less than three percent its current size. The trend of population growth is quite obvious. According to the U. S. Bureau of the Census, International Data Base, the population of the world in 1955 was 2. billion; in the year 1990, the world’s population increased to 5. 3 billion. According to World Watch, the population is expected to reach between 7. 9 and 9. 1 billion people by the year 2025.
As population increases, so will demand for water. Due to the expanding human population, competition for water is growing such that many of the world’s major aquifers are becoming depleted. This is because of direct human consumption as well as agricultural irrigation by groundwater Also many health hazards in developing countries and transition-economy countries are related to poor water quality and limited water quantity. It is estimated that 8% of worldwide water use is for household purposes, These include drinking water, bathing, cooking, sanitation, and gardening. Basic household water requirements have been estimated by Peter Gleick at around 50 litres per person per day, excluding water for gardens. It is estimated that 69% of worldwide water use is for irrigation, with 15-35% of irrigation withdrawals being unsustainable.
In some areas of the world irrigation is necessary to grow any crop at all, in other areas it permits more profitable crops to be grown or enhances crop yield. As global populations grow, and as demand for food increases in a world with a fixed water supply, water demand exceeds supply in many parts of the world. Another concern in maintaining fresh water supplies is global warming. Global warming will further aggravate the water shortage throughout the globe.
Climate change could have significant impacts on water resources around the world because of the close connections between the climate and hydrological cycle. Rising temperatures will increase evaporation and lead to increases in precipitation, though there will be regional variations in rainfall. Both droughts and floods may become more frequent in different regions at different times, and dramatic changes in snowfall and snow melt are expected in mountainous areas. Higher temperatures will also affect water quality in ways that are not well understood.
Possible impacts include increased eutrophication. Climate change could also mean an increase in demand for farm irrigation, garden sprinklers, and perhaps even swimming pools The trend towards urbanization is accelerating. Small private wells and septic tanks that work well in low density communities are not feasible within high-density urban areas. Urbanization requires significant investment in water infrastructure in order to deliver water to individuals and to process the concentrations of wastewater – both from individuals and from business.
Finally, it is estimated that a relatively small percentage of worldwide water use is industrial business activity ranging from industrialization to services such as tourism and entertainment which continues to expand rapidly. This expansion requires increased water services including both supply and sanitation, which can lead to more pressure on water resources and natural ecosystems. Major industrial users include power plants, which use water for cooling or as a power source, ore and oil refineries, which use water in chemical processes, and manufacturing plants, which use water as a solvent.
The portion of industrial water usage that is consumptive varies widely, but on the whole it is very very low when compared to agricultural usage. As you all can see, water crisis is a result of several factors, but the complexity of the issue and the breadth of the challenge that population growth and climate changes pose for all nations is very huge when compared to that of industrialisation and we should all strive to find a solution for this problem because Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium and there is no life without water. "