Water Scarcity

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

By Tülin Bayramoğlu

There are two main categories within water scarcity, and it is essential that we understand the difference. The first is the lack of enough water, physically. This is about the actual volume we have on Earth to deal with. On the other hand, there is the lack of access to safe water, economically; this is a major issue too as there are still countries across the world unable to get hold of harmless water which, worldwide, is considered a basic human need. Although different, quantity and quality are each becoming growing problems that we as a world will have to tackle efficiently, and soon.

Physical scarcity of water is when it is limited, and our demands cannot be met due to the land's inability to provide an infinite amount of it. Considering the world geographically, there are many miles of now dryland which once used to be full of water. Numerous ponds, lakes and rivers are now rapidly disappearing, leaving only slithers of this liquid life behind; this is due to human activity and destruction

Economic scarcity of water is when the distribution of the resource is unequal, meaning that a population does not have the financially necessary means to reach a satisfactory source of water. The reason for this prejudice could be due to political or ethnic conflict, as well as many other factors decreasing the social welfare of parts of the world

Water scarcity affects every continent as it is not a free resource, and was even listed, in 2015 by the World Economic Forum, as the largest global risk. This risk measured the potential impact over the next decade and took into account how several areas of our world would be affected worse than others. Currently, one third of the global population live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of every year and half a billion people face these disappointing conditions all year round.

This is not their fault, though. It is not the communities without water who are ignoring global warming as a life threatening, and shortening, problem that is affecting more and more people every day. Neither those communities, making sure that we are using up almost all of the finite resources we have - as if they’ll never run out. And certainly is not them cutting down trees to create profit and pollution.

On the other hand, however, people who are using fossil fuels daily and people who think deforestation isn’t a problem don’t realise exactly what they are doing. Not even the President of America is considerate and wary enough of such harsh conditions affecting the world’s population. Mother Earth cannot, and will not, suffer much longer from us humans’ careless decisions. Those enlightened about the worldwide consequences water scarcity should teach others, so that word spreads about the Earth’s slow death. It is not too late to stop every patch of water evaporating, there is still time to let people know about it, and turn this around. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to create change when those in power refuse to listen.

People require water for a variety of things, seeing as the world is increasing in so many aspects with improved living standards, changing consumption patterns and an expansion of irrigated agriculture. We use water every day, but hardly give a thought to where it came from nor the people who need it most. Yet altered weather-patterns, ever-growing levels of pollution and increased greenhouse gases cause a waste of the already insufficient supply.

I believe the fact that this is a globally growing problem means it requires much more attention. Although right now it does not seem possible to just produce gallons and gallons of water, and although we will not suddenly be able to find a giant reservoir to supply the whole world, we can always be making sure that the water we do have available is being allocated efficiently - to increase global welfare. The basic economic problem is that resources are scarce but human wants are infinite. The situation is unbalanced as there is such a high demand for more, because water is life.But there is only so much we can be provided with at any one time. If everyone was satisfied with what they have, we could all keep reusing and recycling all our material - not only water - and be living in such a naturally balanced world.

Sources: WWF, UN-Water, Environmental Protection, ScienceDaily, Global Risk Insights.

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