Water is considered as a basic necessity. Our bodies are actually composed of 60% of water that is used for different functions of the body. We use water when we cook our food or when we eat as it helps us to swallow our food. We use water when we do household chores and mostly, we enjoy water because it is a vital component that maintains the balance in our ecosystem.
But, why is it that we have this problem with water when we should be the one to preserve it as something that is necessary for living?
What is water scarcity?
Water scarcity happens when a country’s water supply doesn’t suffice to answer the need for water. It doesn’t mean that these countries have no water at all but rather the amount of water available is not enough to cater the amount of water needed in the place. Many third world countries experience this problem because of the increasing population, demands of the different industries and unstable source and division of fresh water
Besides water scarcity, there are other classifications of this kind of problem about water namely water shortage and water crisis:
- Water shortage happens when a country experiences climate change which leads to the altered weather condition such as floods, droughts and other unusual conditions happening with the weather condition.
- Water crisis happens when the amount of potable water doesn’t suffice in relation to the amount of the region’s need for water.
What causes of water scarcity?
According to the United Nations Development program, water scarcity may comes from the following:
Physical and Economic scarcity
An area will experience water scarcity due to inadequate natural water resources to supply a region’s demand and poor management of the available water sources. This also happens in regions who have enough sources of water but lack the infrastructure and funds to manage this supply.
Most of the household communities and factories disposes their waste in bodies of water that causes water pollution. As a result, bodies of water that can be used for agricultural products becomes contaminated, making it harmful for people.
Overuse of water
In relation to the supply of water brought to every household, most of them have misused water or have overused water forcing them to go beyond the amount of the water they use for daily consumption which later on can lead to water scarcity.
Climate change causes some glaciers and ice packs to melt in other parts of the globe that contaminates the water supply. This can cause floods and droughts which can also affect our water supply. This also causes the rise of temperatures, causing more evaporation and more demand for water by agriculture and natural ecosystems.
Effects of water scarcity
Water shortage may greatly affect the conditions of an individual in terms of health, economic development and biodiversity:
A problem regarding a necessity, like water, can branch out to a wide range of consequences. One of the most notable consequence is malnutrition. Water plays an integral part in the human body. The body is composed of 70% water based on studies. If one cannot have access to clean water, it predisposes him to health issues like amoebiasis which can be fatal to humans.
Also, if malnutrition is present, one would not be able to perform well his daily activities like education which may affect the work power of one country and hence, its economy. Some problems that may stem out from water scarcity may also include food production issues and agricultural consequences.
Health and sanitation deficiencies
Water scarcity may affect the health and sanitation. Since there is water shortage, people may not be able to wash their clothes or clean their homes. Studies shows that millions of people especially on third world countries lacks access to safe water and at least at this number includes those who die from water sanitation and hygiene related diseases.
Imbalance in biodiversity
Water scarcity affect the balance in the biodiversity that leads with an increase global biodiversity loss. In turn, biodiversity is critical to the maintenance of both the quality and quantity of water supplies and plays a vital but often under-acknowledged role in the water cycle.
Places suffering from severe water scarcity
Among many places in the world, there are some places wherein water scarcity is extremely severe. To name a few, here are some of them:
One of the reasons why Libya is experiencing water shortage is due to population growth. The more population would grow, the water would become scarcer. Furthermore, Libya’s geographical location, near to the Sahara Desert, makes it more vulnerable to problems regarding water supply. Lastly, political unrest in Libya also caused the water supply to be jeopardized.
2. Western Sahara
Although Western Sahara is not usually deprived from rain, they experience water shortage due to poor urban infrastructures and manpower that can be used to manage the water supply in the said area. Also, the Western Sahara has the similar problem with Libya as to uncontrolled growth of their population and economic issues like corruption.
Poor investment to water facilities also plague Yemen. Some documentaries also show that the young cannot have a decent education for their time is allotted to fetching water alone. Lack of proper water supply also paved way for malnutrition to be widespread in Yemen. Geographically speaking, Yemen is located in the Arabian peninsula, which is generally arid.
4. Djibouti, Africa
Djibouti is still experiencing a 10 – year drought that caused most its natural water sources to be extinguished. Its location also amplifies the drought as it is located on a natural dry area near Africa. Some residents had to walk for more than 15 kilometers just to have access to clean water. Though quite drastic changes can still be experienced for experts say that the drought can still persist.
One of the most affected by the water scarcity, Jordan can blame their problems to climate change as they are having their worst experience in drought for almost 900 years. This could still continue if global climate change would not be addressed. Further adding insult to the problem are political instability and war. Even though efforts are given to improve the situation, climate and resources need to be at Jordan’s side to make the situation better.
Despite of all these problems, you, as an individual member of the community, can provide a way to solve this worldwide water scarcity problem.
We can help in raising awareness by understanding the problem at hand to formulate better position and propose for better solution. Try discussing the water scarcity crisis with your family and friends or organize a community discussion about ways how to conserve water.
You can also increase your participation on organizations and societies that aim to preserve and defend natural resources including water. Speak out to the community about donating or helping out charity groups who provide water to the neediest places.
But the best option is to use water wisely. Do not assume that your society is too advanced to experience water shortage. Go zero waste in all things, including water.