A water crisis refers to a situation where a region’s water supply does not meet the population's demand. The United Nations and other world organizations sound the alarm when a specific region has a limited source of potable water for consumption. Regional governmental branches monitor existing water levels, and assess the probability of a future water crisis. Federal, local, and tribal organizations work together in tandem to avoid the onslaught of potential water shortages. In addition, most authorities determine the ratio of water pollution to clean drinking water.
Statistically, about 80 percent of the global population faces threats to water security. Planet Earth faces a shared threat between the population residing in erected human monoliths, and the natural environment. Conversely, human water-management strategical policies can prevent the development of a water crisis that would damage wild life preserves. Industrialized nations present the highest threat to water security, despite the available technological resources that could thwart water shortages. For instance, water management ordinances could preserve flood plains, instead of constructing flood reservoirs, which could potentially protect wild life occupying threatened regions.
Researchers have discovered that the majority of water shortages within the last decade occurred from rising population and consumption, rather than the effects of global warming. Additionally, only three percent of the planet consists of fresh water suitable for human consumption, which poses serious threats to human stability. In fact, Lawrence Smith, president of the population institute, believes that water shortages could potentially lead to world wars if proper water-management strategies do not effectively curtail this avoidable epidemic. Water-management facilities should convert to desalinization methods in order to avoid future water crises'.
A water crisis manifests in one of several ways, including inadequate access to drinkable water, groundwater excessive use, water pollution, unsanitary conditions, and regional conflicts. Among these reasons, unsanitary conditions present the highest causes of water-related deaths worldwide. In addition, waterborne diseases originate from unsafe drinking water due to inadequate sanitation and hygiene. Poor water-management practices contribute to more waterborne diseases than natural causes. Economists claim that poor governmental regulations and subsidies cause the prices of water to remain too low, while the consumption rates increased without proper adjustment.
Multiple countries around the world have impacted human health through inadequate drinking water. Among the highest countries affected by contaminated water are Sudan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Cuba. In the United States, Los Angeles may face a shortfall of water equivalent to the consumption rates of today by 2020 if water-manageable strategies remain unchanged. Industrialized nations, such as the United States, Europe, China, and India, have falling water tables that signal problems with the regulation of companies over-pumping existing aquifers with diesel and electric equipment. This will eventually lead to cutbacks on grain harvests, which will contribute to an overall increase in food prices. Many government agencies fear an uprising if these trends continue, especially in population dense regions.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization released a report in 2010 that summarized the impact of livestock production for human consumption. According to the report, animal agriculture contributes to over half of worldwide freshwater consumption. Livestock production facilities require an insurmountable amount of water, because the animals require it to drink. In addition, the animals require water through the grains consumed through the crop production raised for their food. Therefore, the United Nations raised awareness that global societies should shift to a plant-based diet in order to conserve water, especially since freshwater resources continue to shrink due to the increased effects of global warming. The average family within the United States consumes about a half pound of meat a day, which totals about ten billion animals per calendar year. Animal agricultural factories require between 435 and 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. If global production of meat continues to increase, then the world could face water scarcity for over 75 percent of the global population.
Water-management strategies could incorporate wind and solar power to make a difference in safe water supply. Unfortunately, the construction of waste-water treatment facilities requires significant capital towards a cause that may not stave off the global epidemic in time. The rapid population increase in some regions makes this a difficult task to successfully complete before feeling the effects of the current damages. Political leaders tend to stray away from groundwater reduction strategies, because it would have severe economic impacts for small farmers. Moreover, groundwater reduction strategies would reduce the overall crop and livestock output. Developing can strive to secure septic systems that carefully analyze waste-water, which could minimize the impact of drinking water on both human consumption and the ecosystem. Future technological advancements could include nuclear energy and solar energy based desalination that could convert salt water to potable, drinking water.
Follow these links to learn more about the effects of a water crisis:
- Global Water Crisis: A Social, Business, and Economic Issue: A press release addressing the growing water crisis that continues to effect over 80 percent of the world's population.
- Global Water Shortage Looms In New Century: An article devoted to raising awareness of the global water shortages looming within the new century.
- How China Is Dealing With Its Water Crisis: Columbia University's Earth Institute presents information about how China continues to combat its current water crisis.
- Water Crisis in the Nepal Himalayas (PDF): A small essay addressing the water crisis occurring in the Nepal Himalayas, whereby it’s an issue of too much, yet too little water.
- India’s Water Crisis: An extensive article providing information on India's water-management strategies to curb the effects of the current water crisis affecting the country.
- The Looming Global Water Crisis (PDF): A slide presentation consisting of various charts providing statistical data supporting the trend toward a global water crisis of epic proportions.
- The Tigris and Euphrates Global Water Crisis (PDF): A report produced by the International Space University the emphasizes the Tigris and Euphrates water shortages and its contribution to the global water crisis.
- Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World's Water Supply (PDF): An abstract paper addressing the effects of “commodifying” the world's water supply for the benefit of corporations.
- Water Crisis in the Middle East: An Opportunity for New Forms of Water Governance and Peace (PDF): An extensive article providing water-management strategies that could resolve the global water crisis and restore peace.
- PNAS Study: One Billion People Could Fact Water Shortages by 2050: A compilation of international coverage and resources that support a PNAS study that confirms the trend toward an epidemic water crisis.