Our planet is experiencing a rapid decline as a result of humanity’s actions. This affects not only affects the Earth but humanity itself. Man relies on water to survive, yet we continue to contribute to water scarcity around the world. Only 0.3% of water is usable to us, but in that 0.3%, most of it is inaccessible. And with environmental issues like climate change, pollution, the use of unsustainable energy, and more, our ecosystem is likely to suffer. Fortunately, we still have the power to stop it.
Before we try to find solutions, however, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room.
The Water Crisis: What is It?
Simply put, the water crisis refers to water scarcity. This is when the supply of potable water doesn’t meet the demand of a certain region. Water scarcity can come in two categories: economic water scarcity and physical water scarcity. The former refers to a lack of capacity, either of manpower or financial resources, to provide enough water for those who need it. The latter, on the other hand, refers to when the supply can’t meet the demand.
Feeling far-removed from the situation is understandable, especially if you had the luxury of having unlimited access to water. Unfortunately, water scarcity affects many regions across the globe, including India, Pakistan, and Botswana.
Causes of Water Scarcity
Oil spills, plastic, and radioactive waste are just a few causes of water pollution that affect our available water resources. Water pollution is slowly climbing the top spot as one of the biggest threats to the quality, reuse, and availability of water.
Climate change or global warming affects many aspects of our environment, including freshwater sources. Increasing temperatures and other weather irregularities increase the frequency of natural disasters like floods and droughts, making matters worse for areas already experiencing a scarcity in the water supply.
The population is increasing, and by 2100, the population is expected to reach 10.9 billion. This will result in an increased demand for potable water. If we don’t manage our resources as early as now and struggle to stop the water crisis, it could spell disaster for the whole of humanity.
Agriculture is responsible for using up 70% of our accessible water resources. While it contributes to economic growth and puts food on the table of people worldwide, improper management of this water results in wasted water due to pesticides, herbicides, and even evaporation.
How it Affects Us
Lack of Access to Safe Water
Humans can only survive for so long without access to clean water. Without clean, drinkable water, people can fall victim to illnesses from contaminated water and unsanitary practices. Not only that, but water has a significant effect on crops and livestock. Without them, it can lead to hunger, starvation, and eventually death.
Higher Cost of Goods
When the supply is low, but the demand is high, it results in more expensive goods. And since many industries rely on water to create products, they will become less accessible.
As we continue to live in these uncertain times, one thing’s for sure. Hygiene is more important than ever, and washing your hands can lower your chances of catching the virus. However, 4.2 billion people don’t have the means for safe sanitation or basic hand-washing facilities. Lack of proper hygiene can cause health issues, which also significantly affects education as children can’t go to school when they’re sick.
Despite being preventable through proper management of water and sanitation services, contaminated water and lack of hygiene can be the source of many diseases such as dysentery, cholera, diarrhea, polio, and other health risks.
Water scarcity doesn’t only affect us humans, but it also has a significant impact on animals and plants. Wetlands are responsible for flood control, water filtration, and wildlife habitats, but these areas have continued to diminish since the 1900s. This leaves us with only half of the wetlands we had before that time. Without them, areas are now more prone to natural disasters.
What Are We Doing to Solve It?
Water has a significant role in society and mankind, and without it, we’re likely to see a bigger impact on the world than we can imagine. If we don’t find a way to undo the damage we’ve done, the hope that we can protect the Earth for future generations might become only that: a hope. Fortunately, many organizations are actively participating in the fight against the water crisis.
Water Filtration System
It’s important to remember that there’s a difference between having access to water and having access to potable water. Many companies worldwide have developed different types of filtration systems that ensure that we have water safe to drink.
Encouraging change involves having to educate those who are unaware of these issues. Raising awareness about what’s happening worldwide can help people empathize with the situation and encourage them to lend a helping hand to fight against this crisis.
Conservation and proper distribution of water can help prevent the water crisis from getting worse. This can be done by improving water infrastructure and ensuring that the economic sectors responsible for using large amounts of water have access to technology that helps them use water efficiently. The agriculture industry is slowly transitioning into using these kinds of technology, installing irrigation systems that help them control and make sure of water more efficiently.
More Storage in Water Reservoirs
Expanding water reservoirs can help decrease the amount of water that gets returned to the ocean when there are floods and too much rainfall. Once the water goes to the ocean, it gets salinated, making it harder to treat. The more storage we have for floodwater, the more water can be provided during times of drought.
How You Can Help
Help Raise Awareness
Take part in the fight against the water crisis by making more people aware of what’s happening. Whether it’s by sharing an Instagram story, joining an organization, or simply telling a friend, raising awareness towards these environmental issues can be a big help in encouraging people to lend a hand.
Change Your Lifestyle
As they say, change starts at home. Work on reducing your personal and household water consumption by using efficient showerheads, low-flush toilets, cutting down on meat and dairy, and other lifestyle changes that can help you use water efficiently.
Support the Right Organizations
The World Water Council, Project WET, Charity: Water, and the Clean Water Fund are a few of many organizations working to find more solutions and continue the fight against the water crisis. If you don’t have the means or skills to volunteer, you can also donate to these organizations to help support their projects.
These problems are a result of how we take our planet’s resources for granted. If we continue to do this, the water crisis won’t be the only issue on our hands. While it may sound daunting, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if we work together to save the environment for future generations.