We all feel the effects of the global water crisis
Water scarcity has become one of the greatest factors in degrading human health, damaging agricultural productivity, slowing economic growth, and threatening social stability in regions suffering from acute water shortages. By 2025, 70% of the world is expected to face water scarcity, caused by a confluence of factors that include sustained droughts, pollution, and lack of local access.
Increasing Cost of Water
The Total Cost of Ownership for water collection, storage, purification, transportation and distribution is becoming ever more expensive given the high cost of fuel to transport water and the cost of purification to ameliorate water pollution, complicated by erratic weather patterns that have brought extreme drought to many regions around the world . While mostly taken for granted as an unlimited cheap resource in richer countries, water is now has become increasingly scarce in communities across all continents. The rising price of water unfortunately affect the poorest people among us.
Disease and Illness
It is estimated that over 50% of people in developing countries suffer from at least one type of water-related illness at any given time due to water scarcity and water pollution resulting from industrial and agricultural activities. For example, countries such as India have higher than average mortality rates due to water pollution, with over 1 million deaths from arsenic contamination alone in 2014. It is estimated that 70% of the world's aquifers are currently polluted.
Increased Food Prices
One of the first effects felt from extreme water scarcity is decreased farming productivity leading to insufficient food supplies. It is estimated that 1 pound of hamburger meat requires 2,000 gallons of water. With agriculture water consumption expected to increase by 25% over the next 15 years due to population growth and inadequate water conservation practices, the availability of affordable food is expected to decrease. This will further threaten the health and livelihoods of communities suffering from water scarcity.
Future Water Availability
People are highly dependent on water to make us feel secure in our everyday lives. Since 2005, the world's water tables have decreased by an average close to 30%. Environmental and logistical limitations of water availability is becoming of more concern to communities, governments, and industry. As rivers, lakes and aquifers become depleted, securing sufficient water supplies is becoming more critical to sustaining and growing rural and metropolitan societies. Communities, industries and agriculture are actively seeking alternative solutions to traditional municipal and ground water resources.
We created this problem ourselves
According to the National Academy Press, Many of the largest polluters come from the chemical, pesticide, oil refining, petrochemical, metal smelting, iron and steel, and food processing industries. All are major users of energy that produce large amounts of waste products and pollution. Other industries have less potential impact but are still considered highly problematic when it comes to pollution. These industries include the textile, leather tanning, paint, plastics, pharmaceutical, and paper and pulp industries.
Surface and Groundwater Overuse
Since 2005 global aquifer tables are down by over 30%. The EPA and major scientific organizations globally have declared this to be a state of emergency. Our water ecosystem is on the verge of collapse, with rivers, lakes and water reservoirs at their lowest point in centuries. Climate change has created severities and inconsistencies in our weather to a degree that makes water and increasingly scarce resource, resulting in a rapidly rising cost of water.
Agriculture and Pesticide Contamination
Agriculture is not only the largest consumer sector of water use, it is one of the largest causes of not only overuse of groundwater sources but also contamination. Pesticide use will continue to be a major cause of disease, illness and severe pollution to water and our ecosystem.