The shortage of fresh water on planet Earth is likely to become the biggest problem ever during the forthcoming decades. Experts from the International Water Management Institute said in their recent report that the water crisis in the world would occur because of the growing number of population.
According to the UN, the population of planet Earth will grow from 6 to 8.5 billion people by 2030. One person living in an industrially developed country consumes up to 3,000 liters of water a year. If the global population grows by 2.5 billion, it will be necessary to find additional 2,000 cubic kilometers of water for their living.
“The global consumption of water has increased six times during the recent 100 years and will double by 2050. There are countries that have already run out of water reserves for the production of their food. The shortage of fresh water will inevitably boost prices on this resource,” the Director of the International Water Management Institute, Frank Rijsberman said.
The accelerating urbanization and the rising living standard will set forth new requirements to the quality of water. Drinking water and industrial water is obtained from one and the same sources. It may just so happen that agricultural producers, for example, will face serious problems with the required volumes of water.
Mankind will have to deal with a serious shortage of water in 25 years. Earth’s fresh water reserves will not be enough to feed the growing population of the planet. Specialists say that one should take urgent measures now to solve the water problem. The list of measures includes the construction of water reservoirs, the use of rain water for irrigation of fields and gardens, etc.
It is not the first time when futurologists raise the water crisis subject. They believe that the crisis may occur even before the planet runs out of its fresh water. The shortage of water can be accompanied with large-scale military conflicts.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon raised the subject in December 2007 at the first Asian-Pacific Water Forum, which took place in Japan. Ban Ki-moon said that one-third of Earth’s population lives in the areas, which already suffer from the lack of water. More importantly, about 1.1 billion people living on the planet nowadays do not have access to fresh water which poses no health risks.
Humans still pollute water sources irresponsibly and do not seem to care about the consequences.
The problem of water shortage is especially serious in the countries of Africa and Asia. It is an open secret that drought-prone countries suffer from the shortage of water most. Deforestation is extremely dangerous at this point too. Flora is the inseparable member of the circulation of water. Water can not be found in the places where flora has been destroyed.
The issue of water shortage in Russia is less serious than in other parts of the world. However, the delivery of water to consumers can become a very big problem instead: water pipelines and supplies are depreciated in many Russian cities. In addition, up to 60 percent of drinking water in Russia does not correspond to sanitary norms. About 40 percent of surface and 17 percent of underground sources of drinking water do not match the norms either.
Not only are there 1.1 billion without adequate drinking water, but the United Nations acknowledges 2.6 billion people are without adequate water for sanitation (e.g. wastewater disposal). The issues are coupled, since, without water for sewage disposal, cross-contamination of drinking water by untreated sewage is the chief adverse outcome of inadequate safe water supply. Consequently, disease and significant deaths arise from people using contaminated water supplies; these effects are particularly pronounced for children in underdeveloped countries, where 3900 children per day die of diarrhea alone.
While these deaths are generally considered preventable, the situation is considerably more complex, since the Earth is beyond its carrying capacity with respect to available fresh water. Often technology is advanced as a panacea, but the costs of technology presently exclude a number of countries from availing themselves of these solutions. If lesser developed countries acquire more wealth, partial mitigation will occur, but sustainable solutions must involve each region in balancing population to water resource and in managing water resources more optimally. In any case the finite nature of the water resource must be acknowledged if the world is to achieve a better balance.
There are many other countries of the world that are severely impacted with regard to human health and inadequate drinking water. The following is a partial list of some of the countries with significant populations (numerical population of affected population listed) whose only consumption is of contaminated water:
Sudan 12.3 million
Iran 5.6 million
Venezuela 5.0 million
Syria 3.8 million
Zimbabwe 2.7 million
Tunisia 2.1 million
Cuba 1.2 million