It is worrisome that we would be talking of water crisis, scarcity or problems when two-third of our world is composed of water. Of the whole bulk of water on earth, only 2.5 per cent is fresh and suitable for human and agricultural use. This makes usable water a finite resource. Of this 2.5 percent, 99 per cent is held up in icebergs, glaciers or underground. Only 1 per cent of freshwater is therefore available to the nearly 7 billion human population and a countless other forms of life.
You see, for about five years I took Google news alerts for; “Water Crisis.” And yes, every day there was new information about a drought, contaminated water, polluted water, and natural disasters causing havoc with our precious H2O. In fact, not a day went by for over five years that I didn’t learn of some place on the planet that was exhausting their freshwater resources, having trouble getting water from their wells, if they hadn’t gone completely dry.
In terms of the use of H2O, while the total percentages have varied depending on the analyzing authority and date, the following is a rough approximation of overall H2O use in California: i) H2O Utilized for Industrial purposes: 33 percent. ii) H2O utilized for residential purposes, including gardens and internal use: 39 percent. iii) H2O utilized for agriculture purposes, including crops and livestock: 28 percent.
People Lacking Water More than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people 3900 children die every day from water borne diseases. One must know that these figures represent only people with very poor conditions. In reality, these figures should be much higher. As the resource is becoming scarce, tensions among different users may intensify, both at the national and international level. Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries. In the absence of strong institutions and agreements, changes within a basin can lead to trans-boundary tensions. When major projects proceed without regional collaboration, they can become a point of conflicts, heightening regional instability. The Parana La Plata, the Aral Sea, the Jordan and the Danube may serve as examples. Due to the pressure on the Aral Sea, a good proportion of the water has disappeared
Therefore, we must take considerable care, and we are going to have to be a little more diligent even here in the United States, a wealthy country, and create desalination infrastructure, lest we end up with one major crisis after another just like the rest of the world which struggles daily with freshwater supplies.
These techniques can include the following: a) Using native Californian plants to reduce H2O usage for landscaping. b) Replacing older plumbing systems with modern efficient toilets, showers and washing machines. c) Watering lawns at dusk and nighttime rather than watering them during the day. d) Minimizing the use of H2O for unnecessary purposes such as washing cars or driveways.
Trans-boundary Cooperation As far as trans-boundary conflicts are concerned, regional economic development and cultural preservation can all be strengthened by states cooperating on water-related issues. Instead of a trend towards war, water management can be viewed as a trend towards cooperation and peace. Many initiatives are launched to avoid crises. Institutional commitments like in the Senegal River are created.