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What are the Issues Surrounding Water Scarcity?

Article Details
  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Earth contains large amounts of water. The problem is that not all of that water is useful for human needs. Another problem is that usable water may not be assessable to everyone who needs it. Such situations, in which sufficient amounts of water are not available to those in need, can be regarded as water scarcity. There are many reasons why this happens, such as climate change, migration, and pollution.

Climate change can be a major factor in water scarcity. Research has revealed that in many areas, natural bodies of water are drying up due to rising global temperatures. Many people have depended upon these lakes and rivers for generations. They use them for drinking, bathing, and agricultural purposes.

Many people are also dependent on seasonal rains. Climate change is also having a negative impact in this regard. In many areas, the seasonal rains have not come for several years. This creates another problem by eliminating another water source.

When climate change causes water scarcity, the people who are affected often move to new areas in search of new supplies. When this happens, a water supply that has been used by a smaller group of people must now support a larger group of people. In some cases, this situation is not sustainable. Eventually, a new water scarcity problem is created and may induce further migration.

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Similar situations can also occur when water is not the motive for migration. Many people move from place to place searching for food, fertile land, and jobs. In many cases, large numbers of people make the same choices of where to go, which can cause a city to grow substantially within a short period of time. Although the number of people relying on the available water supply grows, the amount of water and the capability to increase it may not grow accordingly.

Individuals are not the only ones who use water. Many industrial entities rely heavily on water. In many cases, they use the same sources as individuals. As the number of businesses grows, competition is therefore created for supplies, which means water scarcity issues also grow.

Furthermore, industries can have an even greater negative impact on water supplies. They do this by polluting it. Industrial pollution has been linked to contaminated water supplies in many countries. Solving these problems is often expensive and many developing countries do not have the means. This results in water scarcity for those who do not have access to other treated water supplies.

Businesses cannot be wholly blamed in this regard. People also pollute water supplies, thereby creating water scarcity. In many cases, they are the same people who depend on that water for their survival. This can also be very difficult to control and correct. In many instances, it is the result of cultural habits and lack of proper infrastructure.

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