Water is the most precious resource on earth. About 79% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water and 3% of it is freshwater that is fit for human consumption but more than 2.2 billion people do not have access to an improved water supply. Yet, people who have access to safe and clean water take it as given and don’t use it sensibly.
Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demand for usage within a region. Over the last century, the usage of water has increased twice as fast as the population.
Water scarcity is increasing in different corners of the world, particularly in Pakistan, China, India, the Middle East, and many countries and regions of Africa including Ethiopia, Niger, Sahara, and Angola.
The misuse and overuse of water is a huge issue leading to water scarcity. Inefficient practices use more water than necessary, it may be for recreational activities, domestic use, or industrial purposes. Overuse in agriculture is a major source of water deficiency.
Water pollution, another big cause, has environmental consequences that made the water unfit for use. Fertilizers and pesticides, agricultural runoff, soil depletion, urban sewage conditions are detrimental to large water surfaces.
Owing to medical advancements that have prolonged life and improve mortality rates, the human population has doubled and continues to grow. Due to which the water demand has ascended leading to greater pressure on available water resources.
Climate change is disrupting weather patterns, increasing the frequency and intensity of rainfall. Disasters like flooding or drought are expected to increase with the increase in climate changes. When disasters hit, they can contaminate entire water supplies, increasing the risk of fatal diseases. Every day 700 children die due to insufficient availability of clean and safe water. Climate change and global warming are worsening the water crisis.
Groundwater is being depleted. It is a serious threat to the environment. It is highly valuable for crops, animals, and drinking purposes. It is something we all need. According to WWF-Pakistan, groundwater depletion in Lahore has reached at critical level.
Water scarcity is reaching an alarming level. The sign of water stress is seen almost everywhere in Pakistan. We all need water to survive.
Education and awareness are essential to solving the critical crisis of water shortage. Communication through conventional and social media can create an impact to avoid water scarcity. Making people aware of the crisis and making them understand is helpful to restore the crisis.
Improving the sewage system in many regions is another way to prevent water scarcity. Without proper sanitation, water becomes unfit to drink.
We should prevent water pollution where possible, from agricultural runoff and excessive use of chemicals including fertilizers and pesticides to the dumping of waste in water bodies. Taking small steps can create huge results.
Building dams of both large scale and small scale can be helpful in the prevention of water scarcity but efforts must be made to reduce their cost.
Reforestation plays an influential role in maintaining climate change and temperature, bringing rain and pollution. It is also crucial in controlling recurring floods.
Rainwater harvesting and recycled wastewater also allow to reduce scarcity and ease pressures on groundwater. Groundwater recharge, which allows water to move from surface water to groundwater, is a method to limit water scarcity.
In words of W.H Auden
“Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water.”
Water scarcity is pushing many regions to the brink of life. Water is the most fundamental, crucial element of life, and water crisis solutions are desperately needed to ensure peace and prosperity.