Sunday, February 10, 2008

Water resources - What can we do?

Water is necessary for survival of all life in our planet. As the human population increases so does demand for water and that is the main reason why global freshwater use grew rapidly in the second half of the twentieth century and this is the big problem since there are already water shortages in many parts of the world. This problem will be even bigger in years to come especially considering the further growth of population and water could become rare and priceless.

There are many uses of water: agricultural, industrial, households, recreational and there's only 2,5 % fresh water on Earth, while the remaining percentage of 97,5 % is salty water. However of this 2,5 %, two thirds are frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. Fresh water is a renewable source, but unfortunately world's supply of clean, fresh water is steadily decreasing and in many parts of the world demand greatly exceeds supply.

Almost 70 % of world water is used for irrigation since as the population grows there is also increased demand for food supply which can't be done without water. Industry and households each share about 15 % of world water use and by some calculations average household needs about 50 liters of water per day (without water for garden).

There's also significant water pollution in many parts of the world that makes already rare water resources unusable creating additional problem to already limited fresh water resources.

Many people depend on rivers and lakes that are becoming dry and overexploited because of increased water demand. Without water there's no life so there are really only two things we could do; slow the world population growth and use water resources more efficiently and wisely. Since slowing population growth is almost impossible in some areas, all we're really left with is more efficient use of water and preservation of current non polluted water resources and that is really something we all can do.

Water scarcity map (click on picture to enlarge)

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