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Water Scarcity and Conflict - Prospects for Human Security - Essay Example

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Water is an important component of every livelihood on the planet earth. Water supports life of all living creatures on the planet both animals and plants (Arsenault, 2012). This is clear justification that water is one of the most valuable components of life…
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Water Scarcity and Conflict - Prospects for Human Security
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Download file to see previous pages Increasing demand for this important resource is distressing many countries in the globe and a number of avenues are being instituted to avail fresh water to everyone. Water is productive resource to human being considering its diverse use in the society particular in economic and social sector. Water is used to serve different domestic purposes and so is in economic sector where it is used in manufacturing processes, hydropower generation, and agriculture (Smithies, 2011). This clearly manifest that fresh water is a basic human necessity because without it several industrial processes will stall and all life will eventually become extinct. This means that when people feel that their livelihood and survival is threatened by water scarcity it is likely that they will turn hostile owing to fear, desperation and competition to protect the scarce resource. Earth is undoubtedly a water planet but unfortunately, approximately 1% of earth water is available for human use in an easily accessible way in its freshest form from either the lakes or rivers (Arsenault, 2012). Large part of the earth water approximately 97% is in the oceans and seas while the remaining percentage is held in deep underground water table and icecaps. However, unlike other natural resources water is substantially renewed through a natural cycle whereby rain falls from clouds onto the land and into the rivers and finally to the ocean where they evaporate once again and form clouds. At least 44,000 cubic kilometers of water gets on to land annually as the earth’s hydrological system pumps and transfers the water. Geologists estimate that the word boasts of at least 1,700 cubic meters per person, which is the minimum threshold that is required for household, agricultural and industrial use (UNDP, 2006). However, the biggest challenge is the wide disparity in the distribution of this vital resource considering certain countries are endowed with vast water resources while other have less or none at all. This difference in availability varies with regions. For instance, countries in Latin America boast of at least 12 times more water per individual compared to those in South Asia. Individuals can understand water scarcity from the dimension of supply and demand equation whereby demand surpasses supply. However, the biggest challenge lies in understanding what is leading to increasing water scarcity and its ultimate consequences. Hydrologists consider 1,000 cubic meters of water per person to be a state of water scarcity and below 500 cubic meters to be absolute scarcity. In most countries around the globe with the exception of perennial arid areas, water has been seen as an unlimited natural resource owing to the seasonal renewal through rainfalls (UNDP, 2006). Because of this reason, human population has continually exploited available water resources with little regard for future costs of overexploitation. People continue to misuse water to the extent that countries with adequate water supply owing to consistent rainfall are experiencing high level of scarcity. Most of these countries especially in African continue to battle with drought and crop failure and perennial hunger. It is unfortunate that public view about water security is only focused on scarcity. In other words, people are only concerned about the world running out of water while ignoring an important aspect of water insecurity, which involves mismanagement. Water security revolves around risk and vulnerability. This is evident in societies that have managed to harness the productive ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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