Water Scarcity: Our essential guide to humanity’s mega challenge
Table of contents
这Government of Western Australia’s Department of Water and Environmental Regulationdefines urban water as water that is used in populated environments.
It can refer to all water that occurs in the urban environment and includes natural surface water and groundwater, water provided for potable use, sewage and other 'waste' waters, stormwater, flood services, recycling of water (third pipe, stormwater harvesting, sewer mining, managed aquifer recharge, etc.), techniques to improve water use efficiency and reduce demands, water sensitive urban design techniques, living streams, environmental water and protection of natural wetlands, waterways and estuaries.
In recent years, the global increase in demand for urban water has led to many governments around the world introducing urban water management initiatives.
Coagulation and flocculation
Sedimentation and clarification
Bloomberg reported last year that1。8 billion people in 17 countries are experiencing a water crisis。在这17个国家在高水分压力下，12个国家位于中东和北非（MENA）。
问谁是影响水scarcity, India has the highest population of 1.4 billion people who are at risk. The issue in India is that their water crisis is not isolated to the southern states, Northern India is facing extreme ground water depletion.
Paul Reig，谁领导Aqueduct and World Resource Institute’s (WRI) corporate engagement on watertold Bloomberg “[India has…] a very high dependence on groundwater to meet our demands, and because groundwater isn’t seen we manage it very poorly.”
As a region, MENA is extremely hot and dry. Current water supplies are minimal to begin with and the increased demand for water is adding to the already existing stress.
Climate change is also having an impact across MENA, The World Bank成立这个地区最大的预期永川市c losses from climate-related water scarcity, estimated at 6-14 per cent of GDP by 2050.
Where is water scarcity a problem?
这WRIrecently revealed the top countries who have extremely high baseline water stress:
Australia is yet another country on the水危机的边缘, according the National Geographic. A number of factors from a growing population to extreme droughts has set the country on a course for water scarcity.
During the Millennium Drought, that spanned from 2000 to 2009, the government had to intervene due to extensive water over-extraction. As a result, severe water restrictions came in play that saw Australia’s cotton production reduced to 75 per cent, meat production cut in half, and rice farming coming to halt almost entirely.
It can be difficult to pinpoint an exact time when water scarcity became a problem, as there are many factors that have led to the current water crisis.
Indeed, in some communities around the world water scarcity has always been present, but that could be due to lack of infrastructure, no access to a natural or clean fresh water source, or environmental barriers.
When we look at water scarcity to analyse why is has suddenly become a global crisis, there are three main factors that have played a role in its growth; pollution, agriculture and population growth.
As a species we have to take responsibility for the damage we have caused to our planet and the pollution we have dumped into our water. From pesticides and fertilisers that we use in farming, to untreated human wastewater and industrial waste.
We have introduced harmful bacteria from our waste that can cross contaminate water and make it unsafe for us to reuse. Whereas our industrial progress has led to the devastation of environments that we are yet to see full extent of the damage.
农业uses 70 per cent of the world’s accessible freshwater, according to World Economic Forum. Yet, 60 per cent of this is wasted due to leaky irrigation systems, inefficient application methods as well as the cultivation of crops that are too thirsty for the environment in which they are grown,WWF。
Due to this lack of efficiency, lakes, river and underground aquifers are dying out. Countries that produce large amounts of produce each year have reached, or are close to reaching their water resource limits.
Not to mention the freshwater pollution through fertilisers and pesticides, that can have serious health implications for both humans and animals.
这United Nations estimated that in 1950 the human population was 2.6 billion, today that number has almost tripled to overseven billion people。人口的增加可以归因于经济的快速经济和工业发展，已经看到我们的水生态系统转化，以大规模丧失生物多样性的成本，得出结论WWF。
这y also reported that 41 per cent of the world’s population live in river basins that are under extreme water stress. As a result, more people will also need more food, more homes and more water infrastructure to support these essential endeavours.
这re are two types of water scarcity, according to Britannica: physical and economic.
Physical water scarcity is the result of a region’s demand outpacing the local water supply. It can be seasonal, with an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population living in areas subject to seasonal water scarcity. This is a proportion that is expected to grow as populations increase and as weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable.
Economic water scarcity is due to a lack of water infrastructure or poor water management. TheFAOestimates that 1.6 billion people face economic water shortage.
In areas with economic water scarcity, there is sufficient water to meet human and environmental needs, but the access to it is limited. Mismanagement of drinking water treatment means that the accessible water is polluted or unsanitary. It can result from unregulated water use for both agriculture and industry.
Increase agricultural efficiency
We have already seen the sheer amount of water that is wasted during agricultural procedures. Changes can include switching to seeds that require less water and improving irrigation systems that make use of precision watering, rather than conventional flooding.
Green and grey infrastructure investment
WRI and the World Bank’s researchshowsthat grey infrastructure, such as pipes and treatment plants, and green infrastructure, wetlands and healthy watersheds, can work in together to tackle that issues of both water supply and water quality. Investment on new technology can massively improve the day-to-day water needs management for communities and businesses.
It is time to take the plunge with wastewater reuse and start making effective use of this growing water management solution. Treating wastewater from plants, homes and industrial wastewater can effectively reduce our reliance and dependence on fresh water sources.
治疗和重用的领导者已经出现了，阿曼是最受压力的国家之一，治疗其收集的废水的100％，并重用了78％。在里面海湾合作委员会countries, 84 per cent of wastewater is collected and is treated to safe levels, but only 44 per cent goes on to be reused.
Check out our essential guide to water reuse and discover how it can help reduce water scarcity,here。
It can be hard to truly access the effect water scarcity can have in the world today as already the effects are having terrible consequences on our wildlife, environment, health and society.
Freshwater resources are normally shared by more than two countries. If competition for fresh water continues it could lead to international conflicts over water. Treaties have outpaced disputes in the past 50 years, but the US director of national intelligence warned in a2012 reportthat overuse of water could threaten the United States of America’s national security.
Reduced access to clean water
农业already accounts for about 70 per cent of global freshwater use to keep up with current food demand. We have already seen a need to develop new agriculture techniques to improve efficiency, but as the population continues to grow, the need for more food is inevitable.
Energy production is one of the world’s greatest consumers of freshwater resources. Global electricity demand is projected to grow 70 per cent by the year 2035, reported the UN in 2014. One solution to the energy sector’s water demand is a switch to renewable sources that require less water.
这United Nations estimates世界上一半的人口将在2030年期间生活在高水位压力领域。经济处于水分压力的经济后果可能是灾难性的，因为汽车，食品和衣服等商品依赖于水。
It is clear that water scarcity is on the verge of becoming a global water crisis – if we continue to do nothing about it the consequence for every aspect of our lives will be affected.
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