How Much Drinking Water is Left?
Fresh water is important for life. Without fresh water on earth, nothing can survive. Over the past few decades, drinkable water has become more and more scarce. Some even say that we have reached peak water. Why is that? And how much drinking water is left on earth?
How much water is there on Earth? How much can we drink?
There are about 300 million cubic miles of water available on earth. As most of this water is salt water and it is located in the ocean, it is not suitable for our consumption. On the other hand, most of the fresh water on earth is locked inside glaciers. As of 2000, the total freshwater withdrawn for domestic purposes was 1% of the world’s freshwater and up to the discretion of the USGS (Science for a Changing World). The remaining 99% is used mainly by industry and agricultural farm. 79% of that withdrawn water comes from surface water, and only 21% comes from ground water.
How much can we drink?
Drinkable water comes primarily from rain, snow, and hail reaching rivers, wetlands and lakes, and this surface water is then pumped into a treatment plants to be disinfected. Some American towns use water directly from the mountain lakes without treatment, but they are the exception. But if the water comes from the sky and is recycled constantly, why is there a shortage of water?
How much drinking water is left?
It can be argued that there is plenty of drinking water left; the issue is what we do with our 1% of fresh water available, given that most of it is now polluted. To add to the problem, our already-excessive domestic consumption has been steadily increasing. Up to USGS, each person in the USA consumes about 90 gallons of water every day, which includes taking a shower (about 30 gallons), washing clothes (about 40 gallons), doing the dishes, etc.
How much drinking water is left over?
Because of pollution and over-consumption, fresh water on earth is running out. Soon, the government will have to start drastic measures in order to implement a system of water conservation. If there is a future for our water supplies it is in the research. There is no quick fix and no miracle, but research is underway. For instance, desalination plants are now converting ocean water into fresh water, and we can only hope that new technologies will come to the rescue, should we not implement ways to conserve water.