How Demographic Growth Creates Water Stress in Developing Countries

Demographic growth in developing countries creates water stress by introducing more people into the area than it can handle. In the most simplistic terms of supply and demand, the demand of the increasing population far exceeds the supply of water the country can handle. When the demand creates a shortage, the resultant hardship creates high levels of stress that undermines the potential for progress and advancement by the country and its inhabitants.

Contributing to water stress, global warming has begun to create a situation that enhances the burden upon already struggling nations by threatening to dry up the very source of their rivers. Mountain glaciers, which have long been the source for some of the world’s most important river systems, are being depleted increasingly each year with little seasonal growth during the winter cycle. If this process continues onward, the great rivers will all but dry up and the developing countries that border them will fall into ruin, regardless of their population growths.

However, before any of that becomes reality, it does nothing to change the continual build up of stress in these areas and ones that are not influenced by shrinking river systems. Other developing countries that experience similar population growth and supply problems are simply running low because they do not have adequate stores from the beginning. These island, desert, or jungle nations are lacking the needed systems for water distribution or lack clean water outright. A country could have all the water it needed to, but if none of it was safe to drink, there would only be problems.

Before the onset of industrialization and pollution, small communities could function adequately beside a fresh water river or above a land with a decent water table. This began to change either through child birth or immigration. When the birth rate exceeds the death rate the population growth in an area is said to increase. This means that there are more people to replace those that are lost when they die. This increase in consumers is what depleted the original water sources, and later pollution levels made the remaining water unusable. From here on the problem only escalates until there is a correction with technology or the illness of the populace decreases their numbers into the manageable levels.

Until there is a better solution to the growing demands, there will continue to be water problems and related stress as well.