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Water Availability

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Introduction

Water is very important in our daily lives. The way water is used affects the quality and quantity of the available water. For this reason, there is need to use water in the most effective ways. There has been a striking increase in the volume of water that has been used over the past 100 years (United Nations, 2003). Initially, at the start of the 20th century, losses of reservoir, industrial, agricultural and municipal use of water in a year could be found to be less compared to what is being consumed at present in each year. By the year 2000, the values have moved dramatically increased. There is therefore an increased use and availability of water (United Nations, 2003). However, the amount of water available for use in various regions of the world show striking differences. Thus, this essay focuses on the uneven distribution of water worldwide stating that there is water crisis in certain regions, while it is not as severe in other more well off regions.

Water use has dramatically increased from the 1960s where many regions became industrial and modern. Based on this fact, the use of water by municipalities has increased and a lot of water is now required in industries. Besides, the human society need water in agriculture and I their daily life since the population is ever growing. Well these factors relate so closely like traffic and weather. With the increasing number of populations of the world, the weather is ever becoming warm. It has therefore been proved that with the increase of the required water, the amount of water made available in the world decreases. In such situations, people must make efforts to save water and employ effective ways of using it. For instance, advanced technology can be used to effectively use water needed for agriculture.  The availability of water is thus depended on the actions of human beings and the measures taken to ensure that water is used effectively. Some regions could be disadvantaged as even governments exercise control over which places boreholes need to be established (Burchi, 2004).

Water Distribution

Modern research and study has recorded decreasing levels of snow and thus seasons are becoming shorter. Water is largely distributed on the surface of the earth as salt water and freshwater. The reference made to the earth as the Blue planet is based on its blue appearance when viewed from the space. The blue coloration is as a result of the reflection realized from the oceans which is above a third (about 70%) of the area covered by the planet Earth. The crust of the ocean is a young, narrow and dense where all the rocks date from the break up of Pangaea. Since water is denser than gas, water flows into depressions created due to the high density of the crust of the ocean. With large quantities of slats which are eroded easily, the continental crust has led to the accumulation of salts in the oceans due to the evaporation taking back fresh water to the land as now and rain (Water availability, 2011).

Consequently, there is a large volume of saline water on the surface of the earth. However, the amount of salt concentration slightly varies with the level of run off from the adjacent land. Therefore, all saline water from seas, oceans and closed lakes account for 98% of the water found on the surface of the Earth.  The saline groundwater than can be termed renewable is rarely considered until when the quality of water is being evaluated in the arid areas. The rest of the water found on the surface of the earth is fresh water. All the same, water that is considered fresh is the water with a salinity level below 0.35%.  Marginal water on the other hand is the water with salinity between 0.35 and 1%. This is because it has a marginal use for many animals and humans. Therefore, the availability of water is dependent on a number of factors and as a result, some areas will have more water than others. The fresh water is thus distributed unevenly on the surface of the earth. Some areas have a high concentration of saline water while others have high volumes of fresh water (Water availability, 2011).

The approximate distribution of water in the surface of the earth is thus as follows: Groundwater - 30% with a renewal interval of 1400 years; atmosphere 0.04%; glaciers and ice caps 69% where Antarctic accounts for 90% with a renewal interval of 9700 years, Greenland forming 9% and other regions form about 1% with a renewal interval of 1600 years; permafrost and Ground ice 0.86%; and surface water 0.3% where fresh water lakes constitute 87% with renewal interval of 17 years, swamps accounting for 11% and lastly, Rivers providing 2% of the total surface water with a renewal interval of 16 days. Well, the sources are many but only water from the river is of great value. Most of the lake water is in areas which are not hospitable. For instance, Khovsgol and Baikal glacial lakes of Canada are in inhospitable parts.

Ground water

The total amount of groundwater is considered to be voluminous than the runoff of rivers (United Nations, 2003). However a bigger percentage of groundwater is salty and must thus be put in the same category with saline waters.   There are many fossil groundwaters existing in arid areas that have never had any renewal for many years. Therefore, this should not be seen as water that is renewable. All the same, fresh underground water is of very high value, more in particular in arid regions like India. The distribution of fresh underground water is widely same as that of surface river water although it is easier to keep it in dry and hot climates. The reason behind this is that, storages of ground water are very much protected from any form of evaporation that it is the case with dams and other reservoirs (Water availability, 2011).

In such countries like Yemen, ground water coming from erratic falls of rain in the rainy period is the chief source of water used for irrigation. Since the recharge of underground water is very difficult to measure precisely as compared to surface runoff, the source of groundwater is not usually utilized in regions where even moderately limited amounts of surface water are present. Even in modern times, the absolute amount of groundwater recharge changes highly for a particular time period based on the source which is being utilized and in such cases where fossil groundwater is utilized beyond the rate of recharge.

Water River Distribution

The distribution and availability of river water through the surface of the earth is in fact very uneven. While the earth forms 28% of the universe, water covers 72%. From a logical point of view, it would be expected that there would no be any water problem in availability and distribution. However, that is not the case. There is a very significant uneven distribution of water worldwide where water crisis in certain regions is experienced while it is not as severe in other more well off regions. For instance, the distribution of river water on the earth's surface is as follows in various parts of the world recorded as renewable river water in cubic kilometers: Asia excluding the Middle East region 13,300 (31%); Europe 2,900 (7%), North Africa and Middle East 140 (0.3%), Oceania 6,500 (15%), North America (18%), Australia 440 (1%) and Sub-Saharan Africa 4,000 (9%) (Water availability, 2011).

Even after having such an analysis, these regions experience high variations. For example, a quarter of the limited fresh water of Australia is found in Cape York Peninsula which is almost unoccupied. In such continents with high volumes of water available, it is not a surprise to locate some places within such continents with water shortage. Texas is one such example as found in the continent of North America. The renewable supply of water in Texas is only about 26 cubic kilometers in a region covered with almost 700,000 square kilometers. South Africa also has only 44 cubic kilometers in a region covered with about 1,200,000 square kilometers. The areas which have high volumes of renewable water include: the Orinoco and Amazon basins with a total of 6,500 cubic kilometers forming 15% of the universal run off. Other regions include East Asia, South and East Asia, Canada, Siberia and New Guinea in that order. Fresh water only forms 2.5% of the total available water (Water availability, 2011).

Water Availability Variance

Water availability variability is of great significance both for the proper functioning of aquatic life and for use by human species. Water that is only made available in a number of wet periods should not be taken as renewable.  This is due to the fact that most runoff universally comes from such places with low variability in climate and the absolute global runoff is usually of low variability.  In fact, even the zones which are considered arid tend to experience less issues with runoff variability since most water sources which are usable originate from high mountainous areas which offer a glacier which is highly dependable that melts over time as a main water source coming in the peak period of summer when the demand for water is relatively high (Burchi, 2004). This historically helped in the development of quite a number of big civilizations of past historical times, and even in modern times supports agriculture in productive regions like in the valley of San Joaquin.

All the same, South Africa and Australia have a different story. The variability of run off in these regions is indeed high compared to many continental regions found on the globe having more or less same climates. The main reason is that, while the rest of the other continents have mountain building, glaciation and quaternary soils, South Africa and Australia have been widely changed from time in memorial dating the ice age the Carboniferous. Ultimately, the available levels of nutrients in these soils apparently have lower orders of magnitude compared to those with same climates as found in other continents. In conclusion, it is true that despite the coverage of planet earth by water surpassing the land coverage, there is an uneven water distribution where water crisis in certain regions is not as severe in other more well off regions.

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