Fresh water is the most essential resource for all living things on Earth. It is a critical component of all ecosystems and is the primary source of life for most freshwater organisms. Due to human consumption and natural causes, the world’s supply of fresh water is dwindling at an alarming rate. Scientists predict that if we don’t work to slow down freshwater depletion, our planet will become uninhabitable by 2048.
According to World Water Development Report #6, the world’s total annual water consumption is 4.74 billion cubic kilometers per year. To put this number in perspective, 4.74 billion cubic kilometers is equivalent to 1.386 trillion gallons— more than the volume of all the world’s crude oil reserves. This consumption rate has caused freshwater depletion at an alarming rate; one that could lead to a planetary catastrophe if further action is not taken soon.
According to the World Bank data from 2010, there are currently 775 million people worldwide with no access to drinking water and 2.5 billion people without access to sanitation. The UN predicts that by 2030, over 3 billion people will live in areas with absolute water scarcity. Water scarcity occurs when there isn’t enough water available to meet a region’s demands, leading to deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity as well as negative socio-economic effects on societies. We must act now to prevent absolute freshwater scarcity from becoming reality!
Although freshwater is essential for all living organisms, humans consume approximately 80 percent of the world’s fresh water supply. Industrial activities are the main culprits behind this enormous water usage. In addition, agriculture — mainly irrigation — accounts for 70% of global freshwater use annually.
Although we understand the dire situation we find ourselves in with regards to fresh water depletion, doing nothing about it will only worsen the problem until it becomes impossible to fix. In order to preserve our planet’s fresh water reserves, governments must work toward reducing global water consumption rates among populations worldwide— especially in industrialized nations where industrial activity uses up most of the world’s fresh water supply. Only through awareness and action can we ensure that future generations have access to clean fresh water!
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