Global Water Crisis

1183 words | 4 page(s)

The increase and anticipated increases in population as well as the ever-increasing negative climatic changes implies that vital resources like water, among others will become scarce. Relatedly, the World Water Council (2014: par.1) affirms a global water crisis that is driven by mismanagement of water resources which leads to negative effects on people and the environment. This explains the need for finding an effective solution to the water crisis among other reasons especially for India and the America Southwest, which are facing water crises.

1.1 India
Luthra & Kundu (2013: par.4-7) provide three root causes for India’s water crisis including increased population growth, ‘insufficient and delayed investment in urban water-treatment facilities as well as over-extraction of groundwater by farmers. The need to address the water crisis is because of the potential negative outcomes, especially with regards to increases in communicable diseases and other adverse effects on industries, households, and the country in general.

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1.2 America Southwest
Ackerman & Stanton (2011: 9) identifies less annual rain and snowfall, over-use of groundwater, potential increases in population as well as climate change as root causes for the America (US) Southwest water crisis. The US Southwest includes states like Utah and California, among others. The necessity for addressing the water crisis is embodied by reduction in future water supplies that are vital for people and industries. For instance, agriculture and other industries rely on water to produce goods which means that water scarcity will curtail access to these goods which will negatively affect the economy and other societal elements.

2. Solution: Guiding Objectives
Before solutions to the water crises are provided, the identification and assessment of the problem in its entirety, is a major objective that must be achieved so that an appropriate solution is chosen. Secondly, an integration of all relevant stakeholders would also be required so as to ensure that disputes tied to water resources are addressed as well as roles to be played. Numerous alternatives should also be identified to ensure that the best solution is chosen. Lopez-Gunn & Llamas (2008: 228) agree that scientific knowledge and technological innovation can help in solving water crises including the use of virtual water and water footprint measures, groundwater pumping using varied technology, salt water desalination and the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems.

3. Technological Solutions
Carter (2013: 1) presents the use of desalination technologies as one of the technological solutions to the water crisis despite prohibitive economic costs. On the other hand, Daigger (2008: 38-9) focuses on current and future wastewater management technologies for solving current and future water crises. On the other hand, Freeman et al. (2008: 40) advocates for water reclamation and recycling technologies while Lopez-Gunn & Llamas (2008: 232) advocates for groundwater pumping technologies.

3.1 Differences
Carter (2013: 1-2) avers that processes involved in desalination basically, ‘treat saline or impaired waters to produce a stream of freshwater, and a separate, saltier stream often called waste concentrate or brine’. As such, desalination technologies are used to treat contaminated, industrial or municipal wastewater whose use reduces over-reliance on natural water resources and hence storage of long-term water supplies. On the other hand, Lopez-Gunn & Llamas’s (2008: 232) inexpensive ‘tube well and mechanical pump technology’ works by pumping underground water ‘when needed, with precise application’ while desalination treats already used water. These two technologies differ to Freeman’s et al. (2008: 40) state-of-the-art water reclamation and recycling technologies which use different processes like ‘micro- and ultra-membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation to provide potable-quality water’. Daigger’s (2008: 38-9) wastewater management technologies also differ in the processes involved which include treatment of wastewater using advanced water treatment technologies and MBRs as well as RO and UV treatment.

3.2 Similarities
The major similarity of all these technologies is that they seek to maintain sustainable use of water in light of water scarcity. For instance, Rozos & Makropoulos (2012: par.1) avers that using sustainable, water-aware technologies like Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS), as part recycling technologies, helps to reduce water shortage adverse effects while Lopez-Gunn & Llamas’s (2008: 232) underground water pumping technologies can be used ‘when needed’. Additionally, desalination technologies, water reclamation and recycling technologies as well as wastewater management technologies treat already used water. Desalination methods including thermal such as distillation as well as the use of membranes such as reverse osmosis as indicated by Carter (2013: 1) are similar to those used by Freeman’s et al. (2008: 40) water reclamation and recycling technologies which use ‘micro- and ultra-membrane filtration and reverse osmosis’.

4. Conclusion
In summary, it is evident that water shortage is occasioned by human factors like overpopulation and urban growth, among others, which lead to water scarcity through over-use. With anticipated increases in population and urban growth as well as negative climate change outcomes especially droughts, the urgency and necessity for addressing water scarcity is due to potential negative outcomes. These outcomes include damage to industries and the general economy, loss of life as water becomes scarcer as well as other effects like epidemics and pandemics due to increased disease transmission. The use of various technologies provides the best measure for dealing with the water scarcity even though some have been in use despite ever-increasing costs of technology adoption.

5. Recommendations
5.1 India
India’s water crisis is driven increased population growth, inadequate investment in urban water-treatment facilities as well as over-extraction of groundwater by farmers. This means that using wastewater-treatment and groundwater pumping technologies would be the best in addressing the water crisis. An analysis of India’s water resources ministry by Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd. (2011: 20), reveals an ambitious water resource management plan that includes integration of technology such as Soil Aquifer Treatment technologies as well as enhanced processes like water foot-printing. In addition to this, using wastewater-treatment and groundwater pumping technologies will aid to tackle some of the root causes of the water crisis even though other measures will have to be implemented especially in relation to overpopulation.

5.2 American Southwest
Less annual rain and snowfall, over-use of groundwater, potential increases in population as well as climate change are identified as root causes for the America (US) Southwest water crisis. Ackerman & Stanton (2011: 24) advocate for desalination, increased ground water extraction as well as water use reduction through conservation. The bets recommendation would be to use ground water pumping technologies in reduction and sustainable water use, wastewater treatment technologies and water reclamation and recycling technologies to deal with the crisis. This is because addressing climate change at this point would not align well with current realities of water shortage and hence using multiple technologies to provide sustainable water supplies would be the best course of action until measures dealing with climate change bear fruit.

  • Ackerman, F & Stanton, EA 2011, The last drop: Climate change and the Southwest
    Water Crisis, Somerville, MA: Stockholm Environment Institute-U.S. Center.
  • Carter, NT 2013, “Desalination and membrane technologies: Federal research and adoption
    issues”, Congressional Research Service, 7-5700-R40477, pp.1-16.
  • Daigger, JT 2008, “New Approaches and Technologies for Wastewater Management:
    Technologies for Clean Water”, The Bridge, pp.38-45.
  • Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd., 2011, Water sector in India: Emerging investment opportunities,
    Kolkatta, IND: Ernst & Young Pvt. Ltd.
  • Freeman, S, Bates, J, Wallis-Lage, C & McEvoy, J 2008, “Drought relief in South East,
    Queensland, Australia, provided by membrane-reclaimed water.” Journal of American Water Works Association vol.100, no.2, pp. 40-52.

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