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June 04, 2018

June 04, 2018 @ 10:23 AM

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Scarcity of water will push world to war

GD Topic

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Read and develop points for discussion for GD Topic: Scarcity of water will push world to war   

It is a fact that about 71% of Earth consists of water. 96.5% of this water is contained within oceans as salt water, and the remaining 3.5% is freshwater lakes and frozen water in glaciers and polar ice caps. Only 0.7% of water exists as groundwater, rivers, lakes and streams. Nearly 1% of our freshwater is easily accessible. Therefore, water is the most precious resource that we have, and scarcity of it can potentially lead to a world war.

 

Increase demand

 

The biggest reason for scarcity of water is the rapid increase in population across the world. The population of the world is increasing at a rate of around 1.09% per year or 83 million people per year. This is putting intense pressure on our water resources. Along with this, the increased demands from agriculture and industry has put pressure on groundwater. Across the world, the use of water has grown twice as fast as world population.

 

Water is the new oil

 

The world has seen several wars fought over oil, which is a crucial resource required as fuel. Because oil is a non-renewable resource and is unevenly spread across the world, (some countries are oil rich, some are oil deficient and some have no oil of their own). Therefore, the oil rich countries, though powerful, have always been under the cloud of attack by other powerful countries, eyeing their oil resource.

Undoubtedly, water is more essential to human life than oil. Our existence depends on water. The scarcer it becomes, the more conflicts it will give rise to in the world.

 

Causes of Water Scarcity

 

Two primary reasons cause scarcity of water- rising use of freshwater and depletion of sources of freshwater. Global warming and the changing weather patterns that cause droughts and floods, increasing pollution and increased human demand due to rising population are contributing factors to water scarcity.

 

Grim Situation

 

The situation is grim indeed. Many parts of the world are battling a severe water crisis, as the available unpolluted potable water, is less than the region’s demand.  According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), some 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water, and 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. For 2.4 billion people, improper sanitation is a big issue exposing them to diseases such as cholera and typhoid, and 2 million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases. WWF predicts that by 2025, two- thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages.

Around 780 million people live in areas with no basic water services. The gravity of the situation can be gauged by the example of Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city. Three years of intense drought has left the city dry and the city is just a few months away from “Day Zero”, when the government will shut off water supply to most homes and businesses and will rationalize and heavily control the availability of water to just 25 litres of water per day to citizens.

 

Save water

 

The situation is inching towards becoming desperate and therefore, needs quick and sustainable action. Recycling water, harvesting rain water, improving sewage systems, improving agriculture related practices, conserving water and educating people are some ways of saving water. The government alone cannot handle this enormous task alone. Citizens, businesses, NGOs, other organisations need to come together to develop holistic plans for their country, so that the groundwater levels increase and we leave enough water to meet the needs of the present as well as the future generations.

To underscore the seriousness of the problem of water scarcity, it is often said that the next world war will be fought over water. Though this sounds like an exaggeration, if the world does not act fast to conserve water and manage its water resources, this just might turn out to be the case.

 

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