Written By: Dr. Amit Mishra
Water Conservation: The need of Hour
With more than 7.56 billion people living on the planet Earth, approximately 80 million people increasing per year, and the population estimated to exceed 10 billion by 2050, the global water needs are set to grow more urgent. Recent reports for the water situation in India gave the ranking of India at 120th position among 122 countries in the water quality index. India is confronting its worst water crisis in history, which is only expected to become worse since the country’s water requirement is projected to be twice the available supply by the year 2030. Transformations in lifestyles and eating habits in recent years are demanding more water consumption per capita. “Leaving no one trailing or behind” is the subject matter for World Water Day 2019 which is being celebrated on 22nd March this year. The principal commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is as sustainable development advances, everyone must benefit. The major factors that have a noteworthy impact on future water challenges are:
- Population (For drinking, cooking, bathing, washing clothes, and sprinkling water for lawns and gardens, people are dependent on water).
- Economic growth (Jobs are heavily water-dependent, Work in agriculture, mining and industries moving over wide areas from paper to pharmaceuticals are water-dependent)
- Energy (Energy extraction and generation are water-dependent)
- Climate change (Warming temperatures, changes in precipitation or rainfall, and sea level rise affect water supply and quality).
- Demographic trends (Population size, distribution, and composition affect Water demand)
Water is a basic source of life and a wonderful gift of God. It is a natural resource but more than that it is a human and social right relating to democracy and citizenship. To a matter of true concern, the current data says that in the present world, more than a billion people do not have access to clean drinkable, healthy water. It is the right time to ponder and ask,
“Are we running out of water”?
It’s high time that we should take necessary measures to make the correction as the tremendous increase in Population and unchallenged water use have brought us to the brink of a worldwide water crisis.
If ever there would be a third world war, it will be for water, if we don’t take serious cognizance of this crisis. According to a recent survey by 2025, half of the world’s population will be leaving in water-stressed areas. If we want a safe future, we need to start conserving water in our homes, offices etc. eg. By proper monitoring of cooling tower water used in Air conditioning systems, Turning off water features when not in use etc…
Facts and Figure of Water
- There are around 2.1 billion people living on Earth without safe water at home.
- About one in four primary schools has no drinking water supply, with students using unprotected sources or remaining thirsty.
- There are more than 700 children under the age of five years who die every day from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
- The global data says, 80% of the people who have to use unsafe and unprotected water sources live in rural areas.
- The female human (women or girls) are responsible for water collection in eight out of ten households with water off-premises.
- According to a report, 68.5 million people who have been forced to leave their homes is because of the problem faced in access to safe water supply.
- About 159 million people accumulate their drinking water from surface water sources, such as ponds and streams.
- About 4 billion people – nearly two-thirds of the world’s population – experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.
- There are over 800 women who die every day from complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
- The number estimated is about 700 million people worldwide who could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.
Solution to the water crisis problem
The answer to the water crisis problem is the planet’s largest water resource, seawater, is in no threat of running out, making up 97% of Earth’s water. Why not utilize it for drinking purpose?
The most basic technologies of converting “Saline water” into “Freshwater” are:
- Distillation/desalination, the process of converting water into steam, and then condensing back it into liquid. For small scale, this process could be the right option which cleanses water of other impurities as well as salt. But at large scales, such as providing the drinking water needs for a city, the process is not economical, even using modern methods such as low-pressure vessels to lower the boiling point.
- Using electric currents, which when passed through the water can separate out the salt and other minerals, and reverse osmosis, by which saline water is progressed at high pressure through membranes that exclude salt and impurities.
In both these methods energy requirements are very high, which makes them less economical, also they add global greenhouse gas emissions. Sucking in seawater can also suck in fish, affecting flora and fauna of sea and damage the coastal ecosystems. Waste from the plants is another issue as the salty residue is usually released back into the sea, but this must be cautiously managed because at the concentrations produced it is toxic to marine life.
According to the latest available figures of 2019, the number of desalination plants around the world in 120 countries (mostly in the Middle East and North Africa) is 16,000 which produce some 95 million cubic meters/day of freshwater, which is less than 1% of total world consumption.
We need to take a pledge towards solving this serious issue and take necessary measures at our homes, offices or business workplace to conserve water. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about improving water, health, preventing disease ultimately aiding the Nation’s economic growth. Only when people will be aware of how it affects us can truly help in social mobilization and advocacy will begin.