It is undeniable that water has become a very scarce resource especially in developing countries (poor countries). This is mainly because of the global climatic change which has drastically affected the rainfall systems. As a result, many poor countries suffer from lack of safe drinking water since they lack systems that can help them conserve the little rainfall water. Nevertheless, developed countries have come up with remedies to water scarcity. Water conservation is one of the major ways of addressing water scarcity menace (Dziegielewski, 2003). This paper seeks to explore the methods employed by rich countries in conserving and transporting water. We shall also discuss the efficiency of water transport with an aim of establishing other viable ways to help poor countries acquire water.
Key words: water scarcity, water conservation, water transport, transport efficiency.
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With exploding human population, most of the water catchment areas have been encroached. Furthermore, areas with poor sanitation risks getting tainted water which poses a great threat to health. This call for a quick move to find alternatives ways of obtains enough water to sustain the up-surging population. According to a report from the Word Bank, over one billion people do not have sufficient sanitation facilities to prevent them from waterborne diseases. Another one billion lack to access safe drinking water. United Nations report that about 90% of the world cities dump raw sewage into water supplies. This implies that fourth fifth of the health problems in poor countries are results of unsafe drinking water. It is in this line that water conservation and transport becomes an important solution to water scarcity (Dziegielewski, 2003).
Water conservation refers to the process aimed at reducing water usage and recycling waste water for the purpose of cleaning, agricultural and manufacturing. Water is conserved for sustainability, habitat, and energy conservation purpose. The rate of water usage should not exceed the natural replacement rate otherwise the future generations are endangered. There have been traditional methods of water conservation. However, given the growing need for water supply, modern methods have been invented to help cater for the increasing need for clean water (Gleick, 2000).
Methods of Water Conservation
A). Rain Water Harvest:
Rainwater can always be harvest during the short rainy seasons. This involves construction of wells or roof water harvest to help tap excess rainwater. Rain tanks can also help to collect rainwater which can be used for household cleaning and gardening. Collection of water from the roof and storing in dug wells (Allan, 1999)
B). Underground Water.
Building underground water is safer than surface water. This is because underground water is safe from pathogenic organisms. Furthermore surface water evaporates at a faster rate in arid and semi-arid areas which only pillars of concentrated salt on the surface.
C). Regulating Water Use.
This involves the use of water efficient appliances which helps in preventing excess water usage.
D). Water Recycling
In this case, used water can be properly treated and later be used. This will help in increasing water supply and reducing misuse.
Methods of Transporting Water
Transporting water over a long distance can be a great challenge. However, knowing the systems and methods of transporting water can help alleviate this challenge as well as in choosing the appropriate route. The methods of transporting water fall into three main categories. These include
- Aqueducts such as pipelines, tunnels, and canals: In this method, clean water is passed through tunnels, pipelines, or canals so as to reach designated places. This method has often proven to be the cheapest and easiest way of transporting water. However, there are many challenges associated with it. First, incase of a leakage, the whole amount of water can be lost. The water also risks contamination arising from the effects of the pipes (Allan, 1999).
- Towing: In this case, a large water bag is pulled along using a tugboat. This method can turn to be ineffective in case the boat develops a technical problem. Secondly, it is time and energy consuming. The water transported through this methods often risks contamination along the way before reaching its destination. Furthermore, the method is not appropriate for long distance transport.
- Container shipment. In this case, water is transported by tanks, trucks, ship, or tank cars. This method is the most risky method of transport. Any puncture in the container delays the process of transport. The method is also not appropriate for long distance course. Being overland system of transporting water, shipment container poses a massive environment threat.
From the methods listed above, aqueducts prove to be the most appropriate mode of transporting water from rich countries to poor countries. This is because of the long distance involved. The pipes, canals and tunnels guarantee safety of water more than the container shipment and towing boat. It also takes relatively shorter time for the water to reach its designated country. Towing and container shipment can be very costly and inefficient.
Efficiency of Water Transport
Even though it may look as a solution to the problem of water scarcity, water transportation is not effective. Given the weight of water, it requires intensive energy to transport it especially in long distances. In the process of transport a lot of resources and finance are involved coupled with risk of contamination of water or loss of the conserved. The canals and the pipelines used for long distance transport often require pumping stations ate regular intervals. Secondly, the capacity of water transported to the poor countries can be enough to solve water scarcity menace in poor countries. The project of transporting water to the poor countries may not be sustainable in the long run (Postel, 1998).
Nevertheless, the rich countries can help poor countries to acquire water without having to transport it to them. First, the poor countries can be empowered to build huge dams and wells for the purposes of harvesting rainwater. This will help improve sustainability over time. As individuals, citizens in the poor countries can be educated on the simple ways of harvesting rainwater at home so as to increase water availability at grassroots levels.
In arid and semi-arid areas, building underground water can be a long term solution to water scarcity. Surface water evaporates at a faster rate in arid and semi-arid areas which leaves concentrated salt on the ground. The rich countries can also consider consolidate the resources so as to build water reservoirs in poor countries. The cost of building a reservoir is more sustainable than the cost of having to transport water continually (Gleick, 2000).
Side Effects of Transporting Water
Transporting water risks contamination. For instance, water running through the pipes risks contamination if the pipes are worn out and rusty. As a result, the water reaches its destination with dangerous substances which poses a health threat to the users. Secondly, the use of tank trucks or overland transport can cause a massive environmental damage in case of spilling of water.
Water is a crucial resource for sustaining the environment and for the survival and growth of life. Even though there have been efforts on economizing the consumption of water, the lasting solution to water scarcity is to increase the supply. This is done by transporting water from areas of abundance to areas of scarcity. Water reuse and recycling are other alternatives of increasing water supply.
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