Water Provision in the Developing World.
The world is facing severe water crisis and the developing world is suffering an acute shortage of fresh water supply even today. Water is required for a number of daily activities besides drinking…
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The population explosion and lack of planning in the developing world is among the core causes of this rampant situation. According to UN Water, some 1.3 million people are without the access to clean water and certain regions of the world face a threat of water wars. Water scarcity is most pronounced in North America, Middle East and South Asia. India and Pakistan in South Asia have already fought a war over water supply issues. The cost of drinking water is more than that of gasoline in some of the Middle Eastern countries. This overview of the situation shows that water scarcity is perhaps the most important issue faced by the planet (UN Water). 2. Water Crisis in the World The freshwater is present mostly in the form of ground water aquifers. The water in streams and rivers forms a lesser portion of the available water resources. Almost 11 trillion cubic meters of freshwater is available in the world for drinking and other uses, however this enormous supply of water is not uniformly distributed across the planet. Moreover the availability of water also varies across the different seasons of the year. Some of the regions in the world receive as low as 500 cubic meters of water per capita per annum of water supply and are labeled as water stressed. Water usage patterns are also different in developing and developed countries with the former using 90% of its water for agricultural purposes. Since agriculture provides food security as well as foreign exchange to the developing countries, therefore adequate water supply is an issue of paramount significance in these countries. However the situation in developing countries is most alarming. The water usage per person has also doubled over the last century and the population has also increased. Figure 1 shows water scarcity across the globe (United Nations). 3. Water Supply Options in South Asia South Asian countries particularly India and Pakistan are facing acute water crisis mainly because of the wild population explosion in both countries and lack of planning. Agriculture provides the base for the economy of both countries and therefore solving water scarcity is a matter of immense importance. The two countries have also fought wars over water disputes and therefore improvement in water supply can also ensure peace in the region. The financial hubs of the two countries Mumbai and Karachi, the two financial hubs in the region are among the top 5 cities of the world with respect to population; both these cities face severe water shortages (Bansil, 2004). Moreover agricultural areas in the region also lack proper irrigation and water supply systems. Thus a multi-dimensional approach for water supply has to be adopted in this region (Pareira, Cordery & Iocavides, 2009). 3.1 Water Recycling Recycled water also known as reclaimed water is the sewage waer which is filtered and treated employing a number of chemical and mechanical methods in order to make is suitable for reuse. Recycled water can be reused for irrigation purposes and also for recharging the ground aquifers (National Research Council, 2005). The cost of recycling is comparatively high, however it can provide sufficient amount of additional water for agriculture sector in South Asia which accounts for almost 90% of the water used. Moreover the underground water is being pumped at an alarming rate in South Asia, recycled water can restore the lost level of water (Escobar & Schafer, 2010). 3.2 Desalination Since Mumbai and Karachi are the most populous cities in South Asia they account for a large portion of the water used in the region. Fortunately both these cities are
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