Water is a substance without color, taste, and odor, which is crucial for all forms of life on our planet Earth. It takes various shapes across the globe: clouds in the sky, icebergs in the sea, mountain glaciers, and sea waves are just few examples of water on Earth. Water is essential for all human activities and for the existence of mankind. Lack of water or water shortage leads to disease, hunger, and, eventually, death.
“How is Water Used?”
Humans drink water, they use water for irrigation in agriculture, they use water for domestic needs, for generating hydro-electric power, for industrial needs, etc.
70% of all fresh water is used for irrigation.
20% of fresh water is used by industry.
10% is used for the purposes of residential use.
“Water Shortage: What is This?”
Water shortage is lack of supply of water, when people do not have enough water to satisfy their needs.
Many people across the globe do not have safe and potable water today. Globally, 800 people do not have access to water. People suffer from water shortage either because they live in areas where water resources are scarce or they are not able to afford such systems that would carry and clean water.
“Water Scarcity, Water Stress, and Water Crisis”
Terms used by hydrologists to speak about water shortage are water scarcity and water stress. An area is facing water stress when annual supplies of water drop below 1,700 m3 per person. If annual supplies of water drop below 1,000 m3 per person, water scarcity is recognized. If the supplies are below 500 cubic metres, this is known as "absolute scarcity".
In the media, the term water crisis is widely used. It describes the situation where clean and potable water in a certain region of the world is less than this region’s actual demand. Vandana Shiva, the author of the book “Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit” wrote: “The Water crisis is the most pervasive, most severe, and most invisible dimension of the ecological devastation of the earth”.
“How Do We Know there is Water Crisis?”
- About 884 million of people do not have adequate access to potable water today;
- Around 2.5 billion of people do not have adequate access to water for residential use;
- Agricultural harvests are diminished because of exhaustion of underground water resources;
- Decrease in biodiversity due to water contamination and overuse;
- Outbreaks of regional conflicts over insufficient water resources; at times they might lead to warfare;
- Increasing number of waterborne diseases.
“Factors Affecting Water Shortage”
Continuous climate change leads to variability in water supply. Climate change is likely to result in longer periods of droughts and more intense floods. Growth of population and increasing migration of people also contribute to the shortage of water resources. Also, enormous pollution from factories and private homes contributes to the shortage of water supply. Besides, water users’ competition contributes to the problem. Competitive character of industry, increasing urbanization and increased amount of crops grown for biofuel contributes to the competition and water resources depletion.