Dealing with the Global Water Crisis
As reported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the global water crisis is having a devastating effect on the protection of human health, worldwide food security, and preservation of the ecosystem. Every year, the world’s population increases by approximately 80 million people, and one out of every three people is coping with a water shortage that is both chronic and severe. About 2 billion people have no access to adequate sanitation, and many of them die from water-related illnesses that could have been prevented.
Where things stand
While more than a billion people have no access to clean water and scarcity is a factor, the shortage is primarily the result of inequitable distribution and poor management. Out of the 48 countries that are most adversely affected, 40 of them are located in the Middle East, and sub-Saharan and North Africa. Globally, the demand for clean water tripled in the twentieth century, and it now increases by 50% every 21 years.
Solving the problem
While more funds are needed to provide humanity with a healthy water supply and technology has certainly advanced, the root cause of this dilemma is what the Pacific Institute, an environmental group based in California, says is “a failure of vision and will.” While some people feel that privatization of water services is the answer, critics are quick to point out that this approach can never be used to provide underdeveloped nations with water. Instead, they recommend a three-pronged approach: conservation, efficiency, and community-scale infrastructure, which will be reasonably inexpensive.
The Pacific Institute recommends the implementation of “soft path” solutions. Their goal is to increase water productivity, and they also feel that that community-scale projects can be used in conjunction with a centrally planned infrastructure to improve the situation. The group wants to have stake-holders involved in key decisions to ensure that water projects and contracts will protect both the public interest and the environment.
The Pacific Institute is in favor of two major solutions to the global water crisis:
● Establishing a National Water Commission to monitor America’s water policy and provide the additional funding that is needed.
● Spearheading a global initiative that will provide potable water, hygiene education and adequate sanitation in schools on a worldwide basis.
What you can do
If you use reusable drinking containers that are environmentally friendly instead of trendy water bottles, you will contribute to the preservation of our environment, including the water supply. Other suggestions include low-flow toilets and shower heads that can save more than 45 gallons of water per household every day, cutting back on time you spend in the shower to save 40 gallons, and running your dishwasher only once a day, saving 12 gallons.