Water is a vital resource to humanity. With Brown noting that each person consumes about four liters of water each day and 500 times more goes into food production (16), it is important to ensure adequate provision of water. …
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Nonetheless, water supply is not the only issue. Fawell and Nieuwenhuijsen observe that supplying safe drinking water is a major requirement in promoting healthy living and avoiding the economic constraint observed in many economies (199). Therefore, these observations inform my choice to focus on the growing shortage of resources for freshwater and contamination of water resources. Shortage of Freshwater Resources Water has so much application in daily human life. According to Brown, irrigation takes the largest portion of water use at 70% as compared to other uses, namely industrial and residential, that each consumes 20% and 10% respectively (16). In order to meet this demand for water, countries have overused their aquifers. Aquifers are underground water reservoirs. Even though they replenish, these reservoirs could be depleted if the rate at which water is drawn from them exceeds the recharge rate. Additionally, it has been noted that fossil aquifers, such as the US Ogallala aquifer, do not replenish. Hence, when water is depleted, no more can be pumped from them. The water shortage due to falling water tables can be seen through the shrinking lakes. This shortage in water resources has adverse effects in the countries involved. It has caused food shortage in various parts of the world. According to Brown (16), China which rivals the US as the largest producer of grain in the world is already suffering from poor harvest due to the North China Plain water table falling fast. It has forced drillers to seek for deeper aquifers which do not replenish. As they dig deeper, they incur more costs in drilling and also in pumping water out for supply. This cost is transferred to consumers which increases the cost of water. Additionally, land that was previously used for agriculture is rendered useless, causing a conversion to industrial use, which furthers food shortage. To raise water productivity, it would be necessary for agriculture to adopt more efficient irrigation approaches. According to Brown (21), drip irrigation has been noted to be beneficial in this context as it allows for utilization of the needed water quantities only. Double cropping would also allow shared water resource among different crops hence reduce on the quantity of water used. Low water prices create the impression of abundance of water leading to lower water productivity. Therefore, measures should be taken to set the cost of water at a rate that would discourage wastage. Contamination of Water Resources The need for safe drinking water plays an important role in ensuring a healthy life. However, waterborne diseases still affect many countries around the world, particularly prevalent among children. As noted by Fawell and Nieuwenhuijsen (199), drinking water could be obtained from groundwater or surface waters, including rivers and reservoirs. Whereas all water gets naturally contaminated by contaminants from geological strata holding or through which the water passes, groundwater has been noted to be less contaminated. The rapid industrialization has seen discharges from sewage treatment plants and industrial premises contaminate water. Other man-made causes of water contamination include agricultural practices using chemicals and inappropriately sited septic tanks and pit latrines. Some of these chemicals, especially from improperly treated water, corrode water distribution pipes and further cause contamination. Leakages from contaminated soils, such as soils where oil has spilt, could also contaminate the supplied water. Contamination of water causes poor health in humans. The pathogens that contaminate water cause “diarrheal diseases” such as typhoid and cholera according to Fawell and Nieuwe
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