Is There a Global Water Shortage?
The worlds water supply is receiving significant attention recently, and with good reason. Water is our most precious resource, but it has been mismanaged, wasted, and poorly distributed for decades, leading to shortages in many areas of the world. The worlds population today consists of more than six billion people, which is double the population in 1950. Water usage across the globe has tripled during this same time, leading to the current statistic indicating that one-third of the worlds population lives in water-deprived situations. Many cities experiencing significant growth lack the infrastructure to handle the water and sewage needs for their expanding populations.
The worlds agriculture industries use most of the worlds available fresh water. There is room for improved water conservation in the agricultural sector, and new methods are required to ensure adequate fresh water for crops. Loss of fresh irrigation water is common in the worlds hot and dry areas, while water and soil run off is common in the more moderate growing locations.
Crops can grow and thrive just as well with non-potable water as with fresh water, but new developments for safe non-potable irrigation water need to be researched. More attention is being channelled to these areas, and the desired result is that more fresh water will be diverted to urban areas surrounding agricultural locations. Experts report that water used for agriculture can feasibly be reduced by up to fifty percent.
The International Water Institute has reported that governments across the globe must take responsibility for saving the worlds water supply and preventing water shortages. Water management topics that need immediate attention from world leaders include the consequences of tourism on water supplies, water and sewage infrastructure improvement, saving the worlds remaining wetlands, water contamination, and prevalent practices that result in wasted water.
Notable progress has been made in countries where water shortages loom as populations continue to grow at a surprising rate. Saudi Arabia, China, and Algeria have all invested billions of dollars in contracts with water suppliers with the intention of improving their existing systems and solving water management problems. The Saudi Arabian government is concentrating on replacing aging water pipelines and instituting water management strategies, and China is focusing on adding or improving water services to its cities and developing treatment and water recycling processes. Desalination plants are the major water project for the Algeria government.
The world is beginning to realise the importance of paying attention to current and impending water problems. As governments across the globe recognise the need for action to correct years of water mismanagement, we can begin to protect the future of the worlds fresh water supply.
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