You would think with most of the planet being covered in water, running out of it isn’t possible. Sadly what most people are unaware of is that most of the world’s water is undrinkable. The majority of the world’s water contains salt in it (ocean water) and is unusable for basic life functioning needs. According to National Geographic, only about 2.5 percent of the water on earth is usable, and only 1 percent of that water is easily accessible. Now that’s not just water to one country or even one continent, that 1 percent of water is being used by everyone in the world. You can imagine how straining that can be on our water supply. This limited amount of water used to be able to sustain the planet but because of things like pollution, droughts, and water regulation, freshwater is becoming scarce. Because water is slowly being depleted from all over the world certain countries have tapped into water sources that are more complicated to access and only further adds to the water crisis.
What’s The Issue
Most water comes from freshwater sources like rivers and above ground reservoirs, but lately, countries are taking water from underground water supplies known as aquifers. Replenishing these sources are a lot harder for the earth than a river or reservoir. Typically most rivers will get resupplied with fresh water through rainfall and the melting of snow on the mountains. Aquifers get water the same way only that water from rainfall or melted snow goes through the soil and enters into an area with less permeable rock. With many countries suffering from droughts and dried up rivers, aquifers are becoming their main source of water supply. NASA reported that aquifers are being depleted at alarming rates. The research according to The Washington Post “indicated that Twenty-one of the world’s 37 largest aquifers — in locations from India and China to the United States and France — have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period”. If the water is not being replaced and the main source of water for these countries have already been tapped out, the world could be facing a water shortage crisis, and most people don’t even realize it.
The Result of Our Water Consumption
If we continue to use massive amounts of freshwater we will soon run out on a global scale. We use water for cleaning, drinking, cooking, bathing, and sustaining life including plant and animal life, and a tremendous amount of water is used to do all of these things. the average person will use up to 17.2 gallons of water in their shower, and that’s just a part of human consumption. As much as 660 gallons of water is used to make a single 1/3 pound burger. Up to 27 gallons is used to make a single almond. With how much water we use it’s no wonder there is such a shortage of water.
There are already countries who are facing extremely high scarcity of water. According to the World’s Resources Institute, there are at least thirty six countries who face high baseline water stress, which means that more than 80 percent of the water available to agricultural, domestic, and industrial users is withdrawn annually—leaving businesses, farms, and communities vulnerable to scarcity. Something has to be done before it’s too late.
What Can We Do About It
You would think with the world being in danger of losing its water supply, something would be done about this, and there is, just not on the level it should be. There are a couple of solutions to the global shortage of our water, but most of them are unfortunately unfavorably solutions. One solution is the distillation of water, which removing all the salt and minerals from water, is an option but it’s an extremely costly one. Another option is to raise restrictions on the usage of water. Limiting the amount that people can use and driving up the price on water. Obviously, that won’t go over well, especially in areas where people aren’t even aware of the water shortage issue. A more acceptable solution is to make people more aware of this crisis and encourage them to be more mindful of how much water they are using. Teach people to value water like it’s liquid goal. Make them understand how scarce it really is, and make a change before the government has to step in. Learning to preserve the freshwater while we still can. Soon we won’t have an option, and we’ll wish we had done something before it was too late.