How can our blue planet be running out of fresh water?
Water, a three-atom molecule that is absolutely essential for life. So simple, yet so precious, we are approaching crises levels of water reserves. Levels that have been long breached in many areas around the world.
We may soon no longer be able to live our carefree, water-wasteful lives according to the 2015 UN World Water Development report that had been released on March 20th. Simply put, the findings are alarming.
We simply cannot continue with our current pace of wasteful policies and practices, because the report states that we will be 40% short of fresh water by 2030—just 15 years from today.
“Unsustainable development pathways and governance failures have affected the quality and availability of water resources, compromising their capacity to generate social and economic benefits.
Economic growth itself is not a guarantee for wider social progress.”
The global population continues to grow markedly. Add to this the steady shift from rural to urban areas, especially true today in developing countries but observed worldwide for the past several decades, leading to increased demand for accessible water. Global population is expected to increase by more than a billion by as early as 2050.
With this growth and persistent movement to the cities, there comes a much greater need for water in a world where one out of every nine people do not have access to safe water.
“The onset of climate change, growing demand on finite water resources from agriculture, industry and cities, and increasing pollution in many areas are hastening a water crisis that can only be addressed by cross-sectoral, holistic planning and policies—internationally, regionally and globally.”
— United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Along with population growth and urban migration, the report believes that climate change is a culprit in the looming water crisis. Irregular weather patterns can lead to dwindling rainfall and the eventual depletion of underwater reserves in several previously lush landscapes, while sending floods elsewhere. Today, nearly one billion people do not have adequate access to clean water.
The first victim will as ever be the farmer. His crops will begin to fail and industries supporting farms will face large cuts. This industrial decline leads to socioeconomic collapse and higher levels of poverty. Health problems start sprouting out because of the need to use remaining water reserves for farming… and if you believe that all this is an apocalyptic scenario that is not based on reality, such suffering has LONG plagued our world, even to this day.
For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea, and Mozambique, nearly 1,000 children die every day from diarrhoeal disease, because they ingest unsafe drinking water. More than half the population in these three countries do not have access to clean water, which leads to widespread hygiene and sanitation problems.
Lack of access to this essential resource coupled with a decline in the economy for those in the areas that are dependent on agriculture will certainly lead to an increase in violent conflict—especially in the developing world.
“Unless the balance between demand and finite supplies is restored, the world will face an increasingly severe global water deficit.”
The full UN report can be found here: UN Water Report.
Next time you wash your car, do consider the needs of the 1000 children who die every day. And it goes without saying that the corporations that plunder this essential resource with no regard for human life are worse than dirt.