Water Stress: A Worsening Global Problem
Billions of global citizens lack access to one of the essential elements of life: clean water. Recently the problem has worsened with the effects of global pollution and population growth.
The degree of the problem varies from wide-reaching damage (e.g.public health) to the stunting of economic growth and global trade limitations. It drives human migration and sparks conflict. Countries are under pressure to implement sustainable and innovative practices and to improve international water management cooperation. This will hopefully stabilize water and food security solutions.
Water stress, as defined by the World Resources Institute, is the simple equation of Demand for Water divided by the Available Water in a region. This is further complicated by a frequent economic factor of inadequate infrastructure.
This 2020 map shows the water-stressed regions on the planet, with the darker red areas representing either high risk or extremely high risk.
There are 44 countries listed as having a high baseline water stress or extremely high baseline water stress. Here is the listing:
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have the greatest physical water stress, receiving minimal rainfall, compounded by fast-growing, densely populated urban centres.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) imports nearly all of its food, alleviating the use of water for agriculture, but making food security a challenge. Wealthy MENA countries also rely on the desalination of seawater which is expensive, energy-intensive and generates high salinity water pollution that is pumped back into the seawater source, endangering sea life.
On the other hand, the Democratic Republic of Congo receives abundant rain but lacks infrastructure, compounded by severe financial mismanagement.
High-income countries are not immune to water stress. Outdated infrastructure and population growth spurts have stressed some U.S. water systems.
Desertification refers to the drying up of an area and is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture. This increases the number of water-stressed areas and the degree of water stress.
Farming can suffer from poor rainfall, rising temperatures and floods can destroy crops, storage systems, and clog treatment facilities.
While the weather must be coped with, our attention and solutions need to be directed to improving city and rural infrastructure, better water research and practices, supplemental water sources and better handling of pollution to make a positive impact on our environment.
Public Health And Development Impact
Over two billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and more than half the world’s population lack proper sanitation services. This increases disease risks.
Water scarcity makes agriculture difficult and threatens access to wholesome food, which leads to acute and chronic hunger, stunted growth and wasting in children, and diabetes.
Access to potable water can require great lengths of travel or queueing, thus blocking work and education; therefore, productivity and development fall.
Wildfires and drought destroyed Russian crops (2010), commodities prices spiked, and food riots occurred in Egypt and Tunisia. The UN predicts that without interventions in drought issues, water scarcity in arid and semi-arid regions will displace hundreds of millions of people by 2030.
Where To From Here?
Some governments are taking ambitious and creative steps such as Green Infrastructure, whereby water utilities must reinvest some profits into green infrastructure, e.g. natural systems to manage stormwater. They are introducing wastewater recycling to make drinking water and the by-products become fertilizer. Smarter agriculture is being advanced using regenerative agriculture techniques and better water management.
Deep Seated Water, a supplemental source of groundwater, is also being recognized as the missing piece in any water strategy. New well water drilling technology is also making it possible to find and maintain valid freshwater resources providing much-needed help in agricultural and populated drought regions.
If you need to access water resources in your region, contact our team of professionals and scientists today to solve that for you. After locating and producing freshwater, AquaterreX can help implement improved water and food security solutions as well as proprietary soil monitoring, soil remediation, restoration, and conditioning methods to help agricultural producers transition away from chemical farming to more regenerative practices.
Related Tags: Water Scarcity Solutions