One oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Water. The 21st century was met with the concept of water stress, in stark contrast to the traditional outlook that water was an infinite resource which will be available for time eternal. But looking at the current world population, water volumes and environmental changes facts, pictures nothing short of a desperate situation. The crises of water stress is unfolding dramatically, and every second counts towards either securing solutions, or a global state of water crises.
Today, we know that only 2.5% of the world’s water resources are freshwater. Of this 2.5%, 70% is in the form of permanent snow or ice cover, such as the Arctic region ice. But apart from the 70% of freshwater capped in ice and snow, the rest is available for the world’s population? Well, strictly speaking not. The remaining 30% of the world’s freshwater is almost completely classified as groundwater. Of the available 30%, a mere 0.3% is the water that we see in rivers in lakes. The final amount readily available for our use is this: 0.3% of the world’s total water volumes. Nature is sure taking its share!
Water is what makes the earth a habitable zone for living organisms – including humans. Yet us humans have polluted the planet’s water from the one corner of the planet to the other, polluting the very critical freshwater resources that has the huge task of sustaining a global population of 7 billion people. Our wealth has increased to a level where our agricultural production and industrial activities are water intensive and we are no longer satisfied with the basics. We live in cities expanding by two people every second, people who are completely dependent on water and food resources from outside of the city’s boundaries. All of these activities are directly linked to massive global water consumption and unsustainable water resource management. Our global population is expanding beyond the supply thresholds of the earth’s supply. And this is the point where water stress, turns into water crises.
Although at a quick glance there may be a difference between the people of the waterless Sahara and the urbanite opening a shiny tap for drinking water, the facts on world water tell us that urbanites may very well be closer to water scarcity than they thought. Every year, 22 March marks World Day for Water. Through this initiative, the public is urged to get informed on the world’s looming water crises, and take the simple advice on saving water to heart. Are you accepting the challenge of working towards global water conservation?
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Sources: UN Water
Photo credits: some rights reserved by wwarby via flickr and dan and africa via freedigitalphotos.net