” To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature and life itself.” Masaru Emoto
The management of water resources has an impact on almost every sector of our economy, from environmental sustainability to energy and industry, to home water usage and sanitation and to food production and our health. I read an article recently stating that the rate humans are consuming water, along with other natural resources, is at such an unsustainable rate that we would eventually require at least three more planets the size of earth to sustain our population and lifestyle. Since our attainment of more than one earth is unlikely, we are pressed to find sustainable solutions now for the one precious earth we do have.
Though we consider climate change as one of the primary reasons to move beyond our dependence on fossil fuels, our dwindling water supply garners even greater evidence of our need to fully embrace renewable energy. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that the fracking oil industry utilizes between 2.3 million and 3.8 million gallons of water per well, with an extra 40,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water for the actual drilling of the well. When we consider this extreme level of water usage with the potential of toxic chemicals used in the fracking process contaminating local water aquifers, the concept of fracking for oil becomes a horrendous idea from any way you look at it. People have a right to resist fracking as a real concern for losing water that might never be recovered, and what water remains becoming toxic.
Water Scarcity Causes
It seems the causes aggravating water scarcity are growing. Besides oil fracking, just about all industry requires huge amounts of water. There are growing numbers of residents who notice severe drops in their local water tables whenever major industry is present. As urbanization continues to increase, these concentrated populations will further pressure the demand for more water. Some statistics cite the growth of Asian cities by as much as one billion more people within the next two decades. Overall, the world population has tripled in the last hundred years. Currently, the number sits at over 7 billion with estimates of close to 9 billion by the year 2050. There will be chronic shortages of water to meet the growing population demands if we continue to use water at twice the rate of population growth. We already are witnessing many global regions struggling with water shortages. High levels of water consumption by every person alone significantly increases as the developed world presses on. In spite of no apparent world wide water scarcity, climate change may soon be a major factor. The drastic changes in our weather can have a direct impact on the availability of fresh water resources. In arid regions, rivers, lakes and reservoirs are subject to drying up; in wetter regions, rivers and lakes are subject to flooding and water contamination as a result.
Suggestions To Save Water
If we are to prevent a water shortage catastrophe, we must begin taking action now. Many concerned citizens and scientists are working on suggestions for how we can save water for our future. These include:
- reuse of water by industry
- relocation of industry to regions of more plentiful water
- prevention of industry dumping waste into clean rivers, lakes and streams
- prevention of oil fracking
- increased efficiency of sewage disposal plants
- regulation of irrigation in regions of scarce ground water
- prevention of water run off
- addition of more ponds and reservoirs
- reforestation and grass seeding of eroded lands
- return to more grasslands
- increased care of our depleted soils
- increased use of and conversion of sea water
- education of home owners on how to conserve water
- promotion of a local and global effort to protect our water resources
Ultimately, water should belong to the people in order to preserve our precious, life giving water resources, and to deal with these monumental water issues.