Besides the Air we breathe, fresh Water is the most important sustainer of life. As river water has become too polluted to be used for human consumption, groundwater stands out our only hope. But sadly reservoirs of groundwater are fast depleting due to burden of rising population and effects of global warming.
At present our planet earth is home to nearly 6 1/2 billion people and going by present trends, it will soon reach 8 billion. As each human being basically needs food and water to survive, a constant increase in population will lead to surge in demand for food and livestock, which is both water intensive.
Studies over the last century reveal that where population has multiplied fourfold, the average availability of usable water has also decreased from 6000 cubic meter per capita per day to just about 1500 cmpc per day. The gravity of the situation can best be understood, with statistics showing, that giving scant regard to environment issues owing to our negligence and greed has led to decrease of upto 4 feet of groundwater annually.
Some straight facts about water resources and usage will make the matter clear :-

  • - 71% of earth's surface is covered with water.
  • - 97% of the earth i.e; 68.87% of the earth's water is in salt water oceans.
  • - 2.4% of the earth i.e; 1.70% of the water is trapped in glaciers, polar ice and underground reservoirs.
  • - The remainder, a mere 0.6% of the earth water is in surface water bodies, such as rivers and lakes.
  • - On an average human body needs between 2 to 6 liters of water per day.
  • - An average household of 4 persons uses about 560 liters of water per day.
  • - A toilet uses about 11 liters per flush - is the biggest user of water at homes.
  • - A dripping tap can waste as much as 60 liters per day or 22000 liters per annum.

With continued global warming there will be rise in sea levels as the glaciers and ice caps melt, causing global flooding, thereby further depleting the earth's crucial reservoir of clean, non-saline water. Once the ice melts and become saline, the earth will get a lot hotter with the ice caps and glacier loosing it's cool and streams and rivers turning dry.
Though 71% of the earth's surface is covered with water, but of that only 3% is non-saline fit for human consumption and that to is distributed across all forms of glaciers, rivers, lakes and groundwater. Groundwater in near future will turn more precious than oil as the water cycle will no longer be able to replenish the earth's water table. Going by United Nations report on global warming, we may soon witness "WATER WARS" on the horizon the world over, where hoarding of gold, oil or even arms will be insignificant when compared to water.

The present water crisis is the outcome of a host of interlocking problems arising under the larger heading of Global Warming. Water consumption behavior which are rooted in lifestyle choices leads to lack of appreciation of co-dependent eco-systems - a callous disregard for the consequences of polluting our water sources. Overdrawing of water from underground sources causes depletion to an extent that it disrupts the water cycle. As rivers and lakes begin to shrink, lesser precipitation means more droughts, leading to drawing more water out of ground with the use of technology. In this vicious cycle the end result is a water crisis because we are disrupting the water cycle an integral part of global eco-system.

The obvious fallout is the task of not only providing access to clean drinking water but also of dealing with waste management hygienically. Any slackness could lead to outbreak of water borne diseases and pollution of our surroundings which could be more pandemic than the HIV / AIDS.

We are already on the brink of a crisis but doing the following could help:-
  • -An environmental awareness coupled with individual contributions for harvesting rainwater today can make all the difference tomorrow.
  • -Use of modern technology to make our water consumption more efficient needs to be highlighted.
  • -Using household waste water for outdoor activity like gardening and washing cars
  • -Making sure that no taps are dripping in the house as well as in public place. -Drying clothes in the air instead of using a drier.
  • -Be more aware about different forms of water pollution and contamination and ways of preventing it.
  • -Be vigilant that all effluents are properly treated before discharge into rivers.

But most of all we must realise that water is truly the saviour of life which will soon run out if not used judiciously.

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1 comments
  1. Harmon March 27, 2009 at 7:14 PM  

    Future Provision of water is also depends on the safety of our water resources. Which are in danger due to pollution caused by industries and other sources. I think you should consider recycling of Industrial water. There many Industrial water treatment consultant including JNB who are providing great services.