As human beings water is the gift of life, and it should be plentiful in today’s modern society, however this is not the case. When a discussion is raised in regards to unclean water or water shortage many people will firstly think of third world or developing countries such as Asia and parts of Africa and would not contemplate that any of the developed countries of the world would be experiencing un clean water or water shortages. This however, is not the case and as global warming is taking its toll on the world we are starting to understand that as human beings we do not have as much power over the world as we like to believe that we have. For example, in the summer months of last year the United Kingdom had too impose hose pipe bans after a dry winter and the droughts in America are now spreading and some are saying that these droughts are becoming “the norm.” The water crisis is not only due to global warming causing a lack of rain but it is also due to irrigation, pollution and unclean water.
Irrigation has led to water being used to produce food and pressure from farmers to attain water for the irrigation of their land has aided in the water crisis and shortage. There are issues surrounding leaky irrigation systems as well as crops being planted within environments in which they do not thrive as well. Agriculture wastes 60% or 1,500 trillion litres of the 2,500 litres of water it uses each year, this is 70% of the world’s accessible water*.
Pollution of our freshwater supplies is also having a major impact on accessible water. Developed cities are one of the key contributors to water pollution for example China’s fast growing economy has led to a great rise in water pollution. China’s five largest freshwater lakes have become increasingly polluted due to the rise within industrial power in relation to the economic growth of China. The River Rhine is reported to be the most polluted river in Europe and in recent years the river became even more polluted due to a chemical fire spill.
The United Nations warn that “2.7 billion people will face severe water shortages by 2025 if the world continues to consume water at the same rate.” The international Atomic Agency reported that “1.1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water and more then five million people die from waterborne diseases each year.” The risks of unsafe drinking water and waterborne diseases mostly affect individuals in third world countries. The worlds increasing population growth is also an issue within the water crisis. Most of the freshwater needed to quench the worlds thirst is found in glaciers, ice fields or underneath the ground. The options for the future in regards to retrieving freshwater are still being widely looked at. Places suffering from severe lack of water such as the Sahara, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Asia look towards development of wells, equal distribution of water, education and maintenance of water facilities to tackle the water problems in which they encounter.
Although there are many charities and organisations of which try to gain government support for clean, safe water as well as financial support the issues of water shortages, clean and safe water will not be sorted out within the next few years. The answer to `When Will People Worldwide Have Enough Clean, Safe Water to Drink” will never be answered. It is an on going concern that is constantly changing.
*Clay, J. 2004. WORLD AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT A Commodity-by-Commodity Guide to Impacts and Practices, Island Press