Michelle Vu E
May 14th, 2018
Water. It’s considered one of our most treasured resources. It’s life’s most basic necessity, However, we are coming short of it. Due to the fact that we live in an area wherein water streams out on every occasion and wherever we need from the faucet, of course it wouldn’t appear like a major ordeal to us. It’s simply there, correct? Unfortunately, that’s where you are wrong. An existence without water is hard. It is extreme, but for a people out there, this is life for them – it is common. In some places, it’s ordinary to stroll for hours upon hours to achieve water. Water that’s now not even clean — it’s full of diseases. The world is currently in a water crisis, and if we continue following this path, according to the World Wildlife Fund, by 2025, ? of the populace can be confronting water shortage. Water covers around 70% of our Earth’s surface, however just 3% of the world’s water is freshwater and around ? of it is caught in solidified glaciers and polar ice caps. This leaves around just 0.5-1% of freshwater open for around 7 billion people to share from lakes and groundwater, for agrarian, modern, and individual uses. According to WWF, around 1.1 billion worldwide need access to water. Moreover, lacking sanitation is an issue for 2.4 billion individuals as they are presented to maladies and thus, around 2 million, specifically kids, die each year from diarrheal diseases alone. Therefore, dealing with the difficulty on destitution and its connection to water shortage is critical for our future generations. We must promote positive attitudes and influences towards our environment to preserve continuous quality drinking water.
Before we can tackle this issue, we have to first understand – what causes water scarcity? How are our actions as of right now impacting water? For one thing, there’s the issue of population development and consumerism. As our population constantly grows, there will be a higher interest for food, which leads into higher requests for water. In the documentary, A World Without Water, Stein Soyland, managing director of World Water Ways, states that because of the increase of population and the decrease in water supply due to climate change, he believes that the price of a gallon of water will be higher than the price of a gallon of gas. In a study done by Naeem Shahid, he expresses that in Pakistan, because of the brisk development of the populace and the modern advancement, water capitals have turned out to be incredibly stressed.
Then comes the issue on consumerism, the documentary continues to further explain how the problem of companies bottling water, selling it, and simply commodifing it, leaves those in water scarce areas having a harder time to find water for themselves because companies are literally STEALING it. For instance, in Rajasthan, India, Coca-cola has been directing water from the underground to make soda pops, leaving the sole method for receiving water, the well, run dry every year. The citizens of Rajasthan dig around 4-5 feet in one day, but as the well continues to run dry, they’re digging deeper and deeper by 10, 12, or 15 feet every year. This just continues down the spiral of hell for them. If that well runs dry, they’re going to have to walk farther to look for another well to obtain water. And so, the underlying question is whether the manage of water be concentrated through powerful, worldwide groups, or if it should be an essential human right? With organizations removing so much water, life will just end up harder for the individuals who need water. The commoditization of water is truly not helping anyone here in light of the fact that a) soda drinks are extremely unhealthy so there’s no benefit there for us (as people who have regular access to water) and b) the greed of privatization isn’t supporting those who need help. So, what’s the point? It’s simply greed and the abuse of power from the upper class people that hurt the poor/working class.
Agricultural use additionally causes water shortage. Out of all of the world’s available freshwater, 70% of it is utilized by agriculture. But, around 60% of it is squandered because of defective water structures. As a end result, this dries out lakes and streams. Additionally, according to WWF, many nations that produce quite a lot of food, such as China, and India, are near, or have, reached their water asset limits. Furthermore, agriculture produces a decent measure of freshwater contamination as the pesticides can pollute the water, which all things considered influences both humans and other species. Human wastewater and industrial waste can also seep into the sea water, and thus pollute it. However, if it’s not polluted, then how much water is being used to create the meals that we consume on a day by day basis? According to ROBECO, an asset management firm, it takes around 1,300 liters of water to deliver 1 kilo of wheat. It takes around 3,400 liters of water to deliver 1 kilo of rice, which incidentally, is a staple in almost half the world’s diet. Then comes the biggest one; it takes around 15,500 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef and with the population thriving, it is expected that meat consumption is going to be doubled by 2050. Likewise, the majority of the nourishment we purchase are transported in from different nations, and indeed, we are fundamentally connected towards a significant number of the water-starving nations through the food we eat. We expect fully grown, fresh vegetables all throughout the year without even considering once how much labour goes into it.
Now that we have a better understanding of what causes water scarcity, we can learn about its effects. Since the 1900s, half of the world’s wetlands have been devastated – which thus, hurts and obliterates natural surroundings of all species. Natural landscapes are shrinking. As an example, the fourth biggest freshwater sea within the world, The Aral Sea, located in Central Asia, has continuously reduced in size. By 2014, it’s barely visible anymore. It’s also simply as salty as the sea because of the high quantity of contaminants it has been polluted with, rendering it undrinkable. Furthermore, not all water that you find in lakes and rivers are even safe. Many children within growing countries that go and collect water with their mothers frequently locate themselves having diarrhea. Barry M. Popkin, professor at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, states that around 1.5 – 2.5 million children die yearly due to diarrheal sickness. In an investigation done in Punjab, Pakistan, it was uncovered that the water quality was unimaginably poor due to its high convergence of arsenic that was found in it, having around 24.92-32.72 µg·L which surpassed the worldwide benchmarks given by the World Health Organization (10 µg·L). Author Naeem Shahid, continues on saying that long-term exposure to arsenic-polluted water can expand the odds of obtaining kidney, liver, lungs and bladder cancer. Be that as it may, in spite of this, on the off chance that they don’t drink any water whatsoever, they will simply die. They’re willing to chance their own wellbeing, drinking harmful water, than experience demise.
We have to realize that water scarcity isn’t just happening in developing countries but even within more modernized countries as well. The documentary, A World Without Water, by British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award-winning documentary filmmaker, Brian Woods, presented a time when the citizens of Detroit were suffering from water shortages. Betty has been living her entire life in Detroit and was cut off of her water supply by the Detroit Water Department for two years. Now, she has to go fetch water by travelling to neighbouring houses every day to provide for herself and her family. She fell behind her water bills ever since her husband became sick and she had to pay for the medical bills. Maureen Taylor, a State Chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, states that the Water Department disconnected services to 4,752 homes. That’s devastating. Many of these people who were disconnected from water services didn’t even know until 2-3 more hours later when they got home from work. Imagine that, thinking today was going to be a perfectly normal day, and then you get home exhausted from school or from work, and you can’t even take a clean shower, or get a glass of water. Water determines our life, essentially. We do everything with water, whether that’s cleaning our clothes, brushing our teeth, cooking dinner, washing dishes, everything. Yet, there’s a social stigmatization on the lack of water. A young girl, Vanessa, living in Bolivia, at the young age of 8, says that she has no friends because of the fact that she does not have water at home. They call her a filthy pig and if she tries to play with someone, the others ostracize her. Even Betty, now without water, is probably going to face some sort of stigmatization in her life — people seeing her as inferior because she doesn’t have the privilege of having water whenever she wants it. People judge others based on their appearances without even considering the story that’s behind each one of them — the amount of sacrifice and hardship that they face on a daily basis, that we don’t know about. And we should know. We should acknowledge that this affects all of us.
And so, how can society tackle this issue? One way is through adopting new irrigation technologies and farming systems. By installing micro-drip irrigations, agriculturists can fundamentally lessen the measure of water that is being wasted. Drip irrigation systems are basically a watering system that gives a supply of low-pressurized water to the soil at a progressive rate. This has turned out to be a standout amongst the most water proficient techniques of irrigating contrasted with a conventional sprinkler, which gives a bigger amount of water for a fixed amount of time, with longer intervals in between. One noteworthy issue with traditional sprinklers is that they’re directing out excessively large amounts of water for the dirt to really retain, that the abundance of water either puddles, or keeps running off and is wasted.
Now let’s move on to solutions that you and I, and anyone else in industrialized areas can do. One quick thing that we can do is stop buying bottled water. Honestly, the amount of bottled water that’s being bought only to end up in the ocean is ridiculous — especially given the fact that we have water coming out of our taps. There is no need to be consumers of bottled water or soft drinks. Soft drinks have absolutely no benefit for us, and even I have stopped drinking them because of the high sugar content. Now, knowing that these companies are planting their industries within countries that are already deprived of water, makes me not want to support them even more. They’re robbing a community’s entire existence by using the water for their own profits.
Lastly, I want you guys to sincerely think about your diets. Yeah, we can do small things like take shorter showers, or turn the tap off when we brush our teeth, but one of the major contributors to our water footprint is the consumption of animal products. Obviously, vegetables and fruits need water as well, that’s a given, but it’s nowhere near the same amount that we need to produce meat. The main reason as to why meat production uses so much water is because there’s livestock. According to GRACE Communication Foundation, farmers have to grow tons of crops in order to feed their livestock. Cattles are physically large and it’s because of this that they have an enormous appetite, consisting mainly of grains. They also typically take around a year or so before they become large, fully-grown cattles. Consequently, the more drawn out time vital for the steers to achieve their market weight, implies more sustenance is required for them, equalling a larger water footprint. Now, I’m not telling you to become vegan, but the amount of meat we eat definitely shouldn’t be doubling by 2050. In fact, we should be working towards decreasing the amount we eat. Try limiting yourself every now and then, you could do a meatless monday, perhaps, or eating smaller portions of meat. There are many ways to reduce our water footprint, and eating smart and being more aware are just one of the ways.
Water changes everything. Time invested gathering water is energy that isn’t being put into learning how to earn an income, learning how to write and read, or even being able to find a passion because one is too busy making sure that their family is safe and well. Those of us who live in places where water is easily accessed have been able to be blind towards this water crisis. However, it’s really important that we all recognize and understand that it’s simply inevitable that this is going to affect everyone in some way. However, it’s not hopeless. By promoting positive attitudes to preserve continuous quality drinking water, you’re giving health, education, time, opportunities, and life to those who otherwise could not have these privileges because they had to dedicate themselves to obtaining water for their family. We, as a generation, can change this. It simply starts with you.