Is There An Incoming Shortage of Drinking Water?
It’s one of the hardest things to imagine: a world without enough drinking water for everyone. It’s also an incredible irony, given that we have so much water available – or so we think.
Here are some facts about the serious concerns about how much drinking water there is left.
The Agricultural Conundrum
Most of our water use isn’t from urban or city usage, but rather from our agricultural lands. To water our crops and raise our farm animals, massive amounts of water are needed, and this part of the issue has led not only to problems with our supply of drinking water, but has endangered our supply of fresh water from the rivers themselves. For example, a kilogram of potatoes may require up to 100 liters of water, but when you think of beef, 1 kilogram can require up to 13,000 liters.
As the standards of living across the world generally go up, so, too, do the demands for fresh water for human consumption. One person needs up to one gallon of water daily. But the true daily needs means that a single person may need up to 9 gallons daily. This change in lifestyle has a more powerful impact in developing nations, as they urbanize and become more industrialized.
Industrialization, Urban Pollution
Certain industrial processes do need water, but the bigger concern here is industrial and urban pollution. Sewage in the form of wastewater and matter, combined with garbage and waste chemicals and by products from factories, are all combining to poison water supplies, making our reserves even less.
Although there has been a backlash lately concerning how climate changes may be affecting the overall environmental balance, extended droughts, shrinking glacial reserves, and changing rainfall patterns are definitely affecting many of our sources of fresh drinking water.
Why Have We Never Heard Of This?
It’s the old saying: out sight, out of mind. For many people, the issue is invisible, since water is still running out of their faucets, and they still have drinkable water readily available. The problem, however, is that water reserves are dwindling, and even now, extended droughts and overdrawn aquifers may be eating into our water reserves.
But What Can We Do?
Sad to say, although personal and family efforts to conserve water are appreciated, what is needed are water reclamation plans and infrastructure, combined with water planning that also considers all the other demands on nearby water sources.
And this is where the sticky concerns come in, as rivers and other fresh water sources usually cross borders, be it between states and countries. It will only take an extended drought or a large water infrastructure project that favors one side only to start a conflict. It’s not impossible that in the future, wars will be fought by governments simply to bring fresh drinking water to their people’s tables.
So if you’re thinking that all the stories about a shortage in drinking water are lies, think of it this way: do you want to wait until it does become an issue for you?