Water shortage is a growing issue globally. It affects many countries including developed nations such as the United States. Protection of water is the responsibility of everyone in the society. The government, businesses as well as people have an important responsibility in securing the supply of this important commodity. Water is essential for survival since without it people could develop many health problems that could cause death. One critical question that we need to ask ourselves about water is whether the available water will satisfy the growing demand 50 years from now. Arguments presented by agencies, experts as well as people’s experience shows a high likelihood of the world facing a serious water shortage crisis in the coming years. Similarly, the occurrence of conflicts in which people are injured in many parts of the world as a result of clashes over this limited resource evidence the seriousness of the problem. The paper aims at expounding on the human activities like industrialization and deforestation that have contributed to the shortage of drinking water. It will also explain how serious this issue is as well as suggest possible effective solutions to the water shortage disaster.
Water shortage influences the occurrence of water-borne diseases in some regions of the world. According to World Health Organization (2000), diarrhea is one of the prevalent diseases that occur as a result of water shortage. Diarrhea is associated with the quality of hygiene that is affected directly by the availability of water. The use of water in maintaining hygiene is a critical preventive measure, but contaminated water contributes to the occurrence of diarrhea (WHO 2000). Similarly, Nwabor, Nnamonu, and Martins note that access to quality water is very much limited in the world. According to them, over 884 million people use unimproved sources of drinking water around the globe (Nwabor, Nnamonu, and Martins 2). Nwabor, Nnamonu, and Martins (2) argue that the number of the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera, dracunculiasis, and typhoid in the world demonstrates the inadequacy of quality water. Based on these representations, it is apparent that water shortage contributes significantly to the occurrence of water-borne diseases that cause high human mortality in the world.
Likewise, water shortage increases the possibility of violence. As it was noted before, the humans survive mainly on water. Due to its involvement in sustaining living bodies and nourishing land, some parts of the world have been experiencing wars over what is referred to as “blue gold.” Based on this fact, one cannot be surprised to hear that droughts subjects societies to violence (Kreamer 89). Often, drought results in food shortage in many countries. Food shortage, on the other hand, amplifies rioting which is responsible for civil conflicts (Cimons and Media 2017; Kreamer 88). For instance, more than 1000 people were killed in 2014 as a result of riots that occurred between herders and farmers in Nigeria. Similarly, the fight between farmers and herders in Kenya resulted in 56 deaths in 2013 (Cimons and Media 2017). To be precise, the situation of water scarcity problem is serious in some places such as Middle East, China, and sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, the occurrence of violence in some parts of the world is contributed mainly by a shortage of water. Its inadequacy leads to a shortage of the main basic need, food, which aggravates social tension.
Human activities and expansion of the population are some of the factors that contribute to water shortage in the globe. When talking about water scarcity, population bypasses climate in causing this problem. The finding evidences the assertion by the Worldwatch Institute’s Family Planning, and Environmental Sustainability Assessment (FPESA) that states climate change is not the main contributing factor for water shortage in the globe (Engelman 2016). According to FPESA, the growing trend of the human population has a more significant effect on the availability of water when compared to climate change. A large amount of water is used at homes for different activities, including cooking and washing. According to the 2006 World Bank report entitled “China Water Quality Management,” China was to be promoted to a water-stressed country by 2010 because of its population growth (Leong 11). For one to determine the effect of population growth on the availability of water, he or she needs to respond to one important question. That is, if population growth proceeds in the non-existence of climate change, or if climate change proceeds in the nonexistence of population growth, which of the two will worsen the availability of water? The findings from different studies show population growth has a greater effect on the availability of water than climate change (Engelman 2016).
Human activities also contribute recognizably to water shortage in the globe. In many countries, there is excessive pressure on the natural sources of water. Water pollution is another contributing factor for water scarcity. In China, for instance, the discharge of industrial effluents to the rivers as well as extensive use of fertilizers in addition to pesticides in farming affects the quality of water (Leong 10). Water pollution reduces the availability of clean water for human consumption. Equally, it reduces the amount of quality water needed for irrigation. Moreover, water pollution causes “approximately 25 km3 of water to be held back from usage, causing a serious economic effect” (Leong 11). Extensive economic development such as industrialization also exerts excessive pressure on the available water resources. High development leads to use of a lot of water, causing an imbalance of demand of water and the available water resources (Xia 198).
However, it is also important to note that climate change to some extent also contributes to water shortage in the globe. According to Xia (198), regions of North China have experienced frequent droughts including the 1972, 1999 as well as 2000 drought that was categorized as worst drought. These droughts are associated with an adverse water shortage that has forced people to adopt water supply policy that calls on abandon on farming and compression of the industry to protect life (Xia 198). According to Xia, the inefficiency of water as a result of droughts forced people to overexploit underground water which also worsens the situation in North China.
The solutions to the scarcity of water issue lie in the hands of human beings. From the argument provided above, it is apparent that human beings are the main cause of water shortage in the globe. According to Engelman (2016), regulation of human population can help solve this problem. He argues that family planning can reduce fertility which is important in slowing population growth. The reduction of population growth will lead to the reduction of environmental pressures impacted on water resources as a result of human activity (Engelman 2016). Thus, it is recommendable for women to take an active role in sustaining the environment through family planning. Similarly, regulation of human activities such as the expansion of industrialization can help combat the problem of water shortage in the globe. As it was argued above, the growth of industries is directly proportional to the demand for water.
In summary, water scarcity is a serious problem globally today. It influences deterioration of the environment in addition to amplifying the occurrence of conflicts in the society. Water shortage also causes inadequacy of basic needs like food and drinking water. The problem is mainly caused by human activities such as industrialization and pollution of the sources of water. Extensive growth of human population also aggravates it. Similarly, climate change influences the occurrence of water shortage in some parts of the world. The main solution to water shortage in the globe is regulation of population growth. Regulation of population growth through family planning will reduce the pressure exerted on the available water resources. Equally, regulation of human activities such as industrialization and pollution will help solve the problem. Reduction of pollution will lead to the availability of adequate amount of water for irrigation and other human activities. However, it is recommendable for more studies to be conducted on the effects of population growth on the availability of water to increase awareness in people about water shortage and its implications.
Cimons, Marlene and Media Nexus. Water shortages amplify the potential for violence. Popular Science, October 6, 2017. Web. March 24, 2018. https://www.popsci.com/water- shortages-fuel-conflict
Engelman, Robert. When It Comes to Water Scarcity, Population Growth Tops Climate Change. New Security Beat, August 1, 2016. Web. March 24, 2018. https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2016/08/water-scarcity-population-growth-trumps- climate-change/
Kreamer, David. The Past, Present, and Future of Water Conflict and International Security. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, 149: 88-96, 2012.
Leong, Elaine. Water Situation in China- Crisis or Business as Usual, 2013. Web. March 24, 2018. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:621867/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Nwabor, Ozioma, Nnamonu Emmanuel, and Martins Paul. Water and Waterborne Diseases: A Review. International Journal of Tropical Disease and Health, 12(4): 1-14, 2016. Web. March 24, 2018. http://www.unn.edu.ng/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Water-and- waterborne-diseases.pdf
World Health Organization (WHO). Water-Related Diseases, 2018. Web. March 24, 2018. http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases-risks/diseases/diarrhoea/en/
Xia, Jun. Water Security and Ground Water Problem to Changing Environment in North China. International Symposium on Groundwater Sustainability (ISGWAS), 2003. Web. March 24, 2018. http://aguas.igme.es/igme/ISGWAS/ponencias%20isgwas/14-xia.pdf