University of Phoenix
Science 256: People, Science, and the Environment
Resource Shortage Paper
Awareness is growing that water is a renewable but scarce and precious resource, which must be carefully managed if future water crises are to be avoided. Water is vital to all life and central to all efforts to eliminate poverty. However, there are still over a billion people living without access to safe water supplies and sanitation is minimal for over one third of the planet's population.
Freshwater ecosystems are in a poor state of health in many parts of the world. Other challenges exist where surface and groundwater resources are stressed in many places by over abstraction and pollution. In many communities, particularly among the rural poor, families spend a very high proportion of time and/or income obtaining water to meet basic needs. A growing scarcity and competition for water, in quantity and quality, threatens advances in poverty eradication, public health and food production.
One in five developing countries will face water shortages by 2030. The Near East, North Africa and parts of Asia are subject now to water scarcity and stress. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, agriculture is by far the biggest water user, accounting for some 70 percent of all water withdrawals. In comparison, industry accounts for 20 percent, while domestic use is limited to 10 percent.
'Business-as-usual' will not meet the needs of those currently un-served, let alone ensuring water for a burgeoning population that could grow by as many as two billion more people in the next 25 years. It will be difficult to achieve water security unless the commitment is made, the resources are provided, and all stakeholders, including those who are currently powerless, are involved in decision-making over allocation, use and benefit. Meeting...