he importance of water cannot be made clear enough. We use it in production processes, in the cultivation of land and for human survival.
Water is a valuable resource, one that we cannot renew or replace with anything else. Just about three quarters of the world is covered in water, but only 0.03% of this water is usable and drinkable for humans.
Water Shortages In the World
The United Nations has done an estimate and calculated that, by 2025, over 3 billion people will be affected by water shortages. In 2010 and 2011 alone, many countries suffered from droughts.
These countries include, but are not limited to:
- Brazil’s Amazon Region
- A number of southern provinces in China
- The United States
In Brazil’s Amazon region, drought has stricken for the second time. In 2005, a severe drought broke out affecting fisherman and those who rely on the river for not only food, but basic water needs as well. It also affected the lush growth of the region.
In China, a drought has caused chaos in many provinces. Drought has affected crops such as rice, potatoes and sugar cane, something no country can afford. 18 million people were affected as well as livestock. Grain and water had to be shipped into these areas, while remote villages had to rely on water sources up to 20 kilometers away. In Somalia, drought has been a real problem.
In 2011 the United Nations reported a large number of deaths in refugee camps. These camps were set-up to help those who are affected by the drought in the region where Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia meet. Food and water supplies are low, and people need the aid of the United Nations to survive.
The southern parts of the United States were also affected in 2011. High temperatures added to the problems in Oklahoma and Texas. New Mexico also suffers, with 42.93% of the state being affected. Louisiana has a drought affected percentage of 55.97%. Texas declared a $5 billion loss in agricultural products. As of the 31st of July, 2011, Texas has had the driest year in history. The Southern Plains as well as the Mississippi Valley is struggling to meet not only power demands, but water demands as well. Billions of dollars of damage has been caused in the livestock and agricultural sectors. At this point in time, it is estimated that over one billion people are without clean water.
As dirty water carries diseases such as cholera, dirty drinking water has become a violent killer. Furthermore, it is estimated that over two billion people are not connected to a water system. This means that people share a water point and have no indoor, running water that most of us are used to. Saltwater is made usable through desalination reverse osmosis, but in order to produce one cubic meter of clean water, an estimated 2kWh is needed. -ANNABEL SCHOEMAN