Water is something most of us take for granted. It’s there whenever we need it – whether we’re cooking dinner, watering our lawn, swimming in the lake, or drinking a glass at the office.
But for 2.1 billion people across the world, water isn’t something they can take for granted – or depend on. Because that’s the number of people who live every day without safe drinking water.
As the World Health Organization states, safe water and sanitation “are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.”
Yet, that’s not the case today. And it could get worse in the future, as experts and researchers suggest water shortages could be the world’s next crisis.
Defining the Problem
According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), approximately one-third of everyone on earth will endure severe shortages of water that will last indefinitely. Part of this is due to climate change; part of this is due to overpopulation and rapid growth, especially in urban centers.
We talked previously about how Cape Town, South Africa came very close to running out of water (and that crisis was only delayed until 2019). That same fate could be in store for more places on earth because of how we manage our water.
USAID is careful to point out that it’s not about not having enough water – at least not yet. It’s about management and distribution. We don’t do a great job of managing our water, or making sure everyone has equal access to it.
And when you have demand for water doubling approximately every 21 years, you can see how this problem can really get out of hand.
Fixing the Problem
There are two approaches to fixing the water crisis.
The first is to regulate how agriculture and industry use water. They combined account for 90 percent of water use.
The second is to prevent pollution of the groundwater we have. As award-winning documentary maker Irena Salina said, “Instead of spending billions on technologies that clean up pollution, we would be using resources to prevent water pollution in the first place.”
That’s what’s going on in North America – our water is being polluted, not to mention over-used in certain regions of the continent. For example, in California, each single almond grown for sale takes an entire gallon of water. California supplies 80 percent of the world’s almonds, and where the almonds are largely grown, the Central Valley, is routinely hit by droughts.
Water conservation and management is key. We have to protect our water from pollution and do a better job of controlling how it’s used.
But these are tough decisions, and not everyone is on board. Yet, it’s a problem that has to be addressed if we’re going to avoid a crisis – not just overseas but right here at home.
Water Way supplies clean drinking water to homes and offices, and believes that water is one of our greatest and most critical resources. Contact us to learn more about our services and our dedication to clean water.