The world is constantly running out of water for its inhabitants use it too much. Several factors have caused this shortage. Urbanization and industrialization are among the leading causes of water shortage. Urbanization has led to destruction of water catchment areas for purposes of human settlement. Industrialization, on the other hand, has led to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Excess amounts of green gasses in the atmosphere have radically altered the world’s climate leading to global warming. In the past decade alone, the adoption of renewable sources of energy has increased twofold. This means that the availability of natural sources of water is on the decline. Certain regions of the world have already experienced devastating droughts occasioned by the effects of climate change. This paper seeks to give an in-depth understanding of water crisis in the world (Interlandi, & Ryan, 40-43).
Water is an indispensable commodity to living organisms. A water shortage, therefore, has profound effects to the lives of many organisms including human beings. This fact has been proved correct for the past ten years. Many parts of the world have witnessed significant water shortages during this period. The effects have been tremendous. In the past year alone, the World Health Organization reported that an estimated 3900 children die annually because of waterborne diseases. It is necessary to note that those figures do not include statistics from developed countries. This presents a danger that the water crisis will escalate in the coming years.
Farmers have not been spared either; their irrigation systems have suffered massive water depletion. Although, food production has been enhanced in many countries, many irrigation facilities have been declared defunct because of water shortage. Water shortage in arid areas is alarming. People have been forced to abandon their sources of livelihood due to lack of water. Many animals have succumbed to death because of prolonged droughts. This situation has altered many things in the world. People have been forced to abandon their traditional ways of leaving to try out cumbersome means of survival (Interlandi, & Ryan, 40-43).
Most people think that appropriate infrastructure can avert water crisis in the world. However, that is not correct; the current water crisis is a unique phenomenon that infrastructure cannot fix. Depletion of natural water resources, caused by irresponsible human activities, created the current water crisis (Brown, 27-33). Experts caution that the world can only sustain an estimated number of people. That is why there has been no water shortage in the world. Instead, water has been abundant with well distributed amounts of rainfall. Increase in human population will strain available natural resources. With the current 2.6 billion people, an easy calculation reveals that the strain on water resources will be twofold. The current world population has surpassed the required limits that the world can sustain.
Pressure on natural resources is not limited to water only; other resources are in danger of exhaustion too. The water tables have sunk quite low to the extent that requires one to sink deep into the ground before reaching water levels. Another problem is that the water tables are in constant depletion, which means that the quantity of underground water is depleting at an alarming rate. What the world needs to understand is that underground water comes from rainfall. Any interference on the amount of rainfall has a bearing on the availability of underground water. A cyclic process, known as the water cycle, creates water. Any slight adjustment on any stage of the water cycle has an effect on the entire cycle.
The current water crisis is attributed to hostile human activities. At the top of this list is emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As countries try to transform their economies from agro-based to industrial, many industries have been developed. These industries pose a serious environmental threat because they emit significant portions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases have radically altered global climatic conditions, resulting to prolonged drought in areas that were arid (Brown, 27-33).
For the last five years, certain regions in the tropics have witnessed unprecedented weather patterns characterized by prolonged droughts, and poor rainfall. Efforts of the United Nations humanitarian bodies to alleviate water shortage in the Horn of Africa have not been successful because of the unfriendly climate. Water crisis does not affect human beings alone. The entire ecosystem and its dependant species need water to flourish. This is difficult, as the water shortage has created imbalances in the ecosystem. Hundreds of thousands of animals have died because of drought, leaving farmers with no source of livelihood. In the past decade alone, the Horn of Africa has lost over a million cattle due to drought related problems. Farmers have been forced to abandon their homes in search of water (Brown, 27-33).
Their destination has been in United Nations camps where inhabitants are supplied with water and food rations. Water crisis is likely to worsen because of the current levels of pollution. Emissions from industries have led to an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere posing a serious challenge to the environment. Experts estimate that China alone emits 6.8 billion tones of carbon dioxide per year. Carbon dioxide emissions have increased world temperatures that may cause prolonged drought in some part of the globe. The same situation has led to increased evaporation inducing water sources to dry up. This might not make sense to most people living in the United States because of the prevailing weather conditions in this area. The truth of the matter is that most water sources in arid areas, found in the tropics like the Horn of Africa, have dried up. In these areas are the highest temperatures ever recorded in history (Macdonald, 44-60).
The clearance of forests to pave the way for construction and agriculture has immensely contributed to the current water shortage. Most natural forests acted as water catchment areas. They also had a positive impact on the weather patterns because they played a significant role in the natural water cycle. Rivers and lakes have dried up creating a vacuum in the water cycle, thus, leading to limited amounts of rainfall. In the Middle East for instance, water scarcity has been a source of conflict between Israel and Syria.
Water crisis is an issue that would pose massive challenges to the world. This problem seems to be escalating rapidly, making it difficult for human beings to figure out solutions. Attempts to adopt the use of renewable sources of energy have proved perfect in developed countries, but the case is different in poor countries. In impoverished countries, the effects of water shortage are enormous. The natural wells, that provided communities with water, have dried up leaving people and their livestock in abject thirst. People have to trek hundreds of kilometers every day in search of water. Tension has grown as communities engage in fights over water. Animals have not been spared; thousands of domesticated animals including cattle have died due to lack of water. The water crisis is deemed to escalate, as the world population sores, and destruction to the environment continues.