Water And Oceanography

Water Conservation Environment



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Abstract Water is necessary for survival; however, with the population on our planet increasing, usable water is becoming short in supply, what can we do to keep our planet from running out of usable water?

Even though water is a necessity for survival, one million people are deprived of clean water supplies and half of the world's population is left without proper water purification systems. (United Nations Population Fund, 2003). As people, we just see what is in front of us, we do not see what is going on with the water supply outside of our little community; however, there are so many that have to struggle for water, even in this day and time. However, in all actuality, less than 1% of the earth's water is fit to be used and it is only this small percentage that is renewable by rain or snow. It is projected that by 2025, if we keep using water like we are today, that 5 billion people out of the world's 7.9 million will be living in an area where it is hard to get usable water. (United Nations Population Fund, 2003). Figure 1 will show the per capita use of water by different regions.

Ninety-seven percent of the earths' water is salt water and it is not consumable or fit to use for agriculture. Assuming, that the world's freshwater supply is invariable, the typical amount of water obtainable per person in 1850 was about 43,000 cubic meters per year. By 1990, this number had dropped to 9,000 cubic meters per year, merely because of the increase in global population. (Gleick, 1995). When looked at this way, the spacial and worldly supply problems reported above become even more obvious. However, what is contributing to this problem of human population and water shortage? One of the reasons that there is less water is because some of the rivers that people depend on water for are starting to run dry. People tend to overuse these rivers either by agricultural use, industrial use or home use. A good example of this is occurring in China. According to Liu (2005), "About 3,000 of 4,077 lakes in Maduo County, the first county through which the Yellow flows, have disappeared completely, depriving nearly 600 households, 3,000 people, and 119,000 cattle of easy access to water." (para. 3). Part of the reason that these lakes have dried up is because the population in that country has quadrupled in the last 40-50 years; additionally, the overgrazing of livestock and farming increases due to the demand to be able to feed all these people. So, now we come to how rapid urbanization contributes to the water shortage.
It was predicted that by the end of 2008, half of the world's population would live in urban areas, and despite the growing urbanization, about two-thirds of the world's population would not have access to clean water. (SID, 2008). Urbanization plays a major factor on both the quality and quantity of water. When a large scale urbanization project begins, when the bulldozing and building of homes, parking lots, and other things needed for urbanization, more sediment ends up into the streams of water. When this happens, it increases the chance of flooding and the quality of water decreases. Additionally, the increased sewage into the streams decreases water quality. Then when the increased traffic of cars and more commercial areas, the surface runoff will start containing pollutants, contributing oils, greases, hydrocarbons, and toxic metals and this will also contribute a lot of pollution to surface runoff that ends up in streams or water supply. But, with these things contributing to the water shortage or pollution, how does this affect humans or other living creatures? It is hard for peoples' needs that require water to be met because of the water shortages that we already have. This is because water is required for drinking, sanitation, and cooking; and in poorer and underdeveloped countries, they have to use either polluted or contaminated water. According to Brown (1999), "Ninety percent of future population growth is projected to occur in the poorest countries and among the societies least able to cope." (para.1 ) In some of the underdeveloped countries, women have to walk for miles to get water, even though it is contaminated or polluted, and then they have to use it for household chores or cooking; therefore, these women are more apt to contract waterborne diseases. (United Nations Population Fund, 2003). Not only does this affect humans, but without a proper water supply, it would be hard to sustain agricultural needs to feed humans because we need both plant life and animal life to sustain our lives. Without water we would die from dehydration and without agricultural products we would die from starvation. So, what can we do to help sustain our water?

Action Items

Action steps

Timeline

Identify the problem of need for water

Get international involvement

Month 1-4

Work on controlling water related diseases

Educate people on how to find clean water and the dangers of using unclean water.

Month 4-6

Use agricultural water more efficiently

Teach farmers how to use agricultural water more efficiently

Month 6-8

Essential ecosystem water needs should be identified.

Teach people how to keep our water cleaner

Month 8-9

Data on water usage, accessibility, and quality of water should be made available to the public

If people know just how short the supply of water is becoming, they might conserve.

Month 9-10

Get industries and government involved in conserving water

If industries and government building conserve their water and watch their water pollution, it would make a big difference.

Month 10-12
We can come up with a plan to help us sustain our water. The first part of this plan would be to acknowledge fully that we need water for survival and to come up with a plan for such that has international attention. We do not need to look at this problem as different countries; we need to look at this problem on the international level that involves all countries on this planet. This would take quite a bit of international communication and working together; however, it is possible. Additionally, with polluted and contaminated water being part of the problem this needs to be dealt with also. Therefore, the second part of the sustainment plan comes into action, which is to try to cut back on waterborne diseases. This would be a very hard task for the poorer countries when what they mostly have is polluted and contaminated water; however, if we made this an international project and other countries would help with setting up water purification plants and ways to help purify water, this goal would be obtainable. However, if the human population is in better health, people will function better to do more for their communities. However, once this phase of the plan is executed, people who raise animals or farm need to become aware of how much water is used for agriculture. According to Jury and Vaux (2007), "Agriculture is by far the leading user of freshwater worldwide, accounting for almost 85% of global consumption." (para. 1). For starters, farmers can be shown how to better use irrigation water and line ditches to cut down on seepage. In addition, there is a possibility of laser-leveling their fields for better utilization. Additionally, for the farmers that raise livestock, they can try to keep their livestock from overgrazing at streams by using pumps that pump a limited amount of surface water for the livestock to drink. Then after the farmers are taught how to utilize water, we need to look the essential needs of our ecosystem as it pertains to water. The cleanliness of water we do have is very important; therefore, the need to educate people on how to keep water clean is an important factor. This will also keep waterborne illnesses and deaths from waterborne diseases down. Many people do not understand that the majority of pollution that is in water is invisible to the human eye and that it is toxins, very small sediments, and surfeit nutrients that add to pollution, not just things we can see. Additionally, that quite a bit of money is spent on water purification and even with purification; some pollution is hard to remove from water. Therefore, people can be educated on how to conserve on fertilizers for their lawns, not to pour any type of pollutants into water, volunteer to maintain or clean-up a waterway, and to just help keep the balance between humans and the ecosystem. Additionally, if people are educated on just how short our water supply is becoming then they might conserve more, which brings us to the next step in the sustainment plan. Many people are not aware of how short our water supply is becoming on our planet; however, with the media resources that we have available today, there is no reason they should not know. Therefore, we need to get the information out to where they can see that there is a problem. Then, if they can read or see the consequences of not having an ample water supply, maybe they can start conserving. Part of this plan will be to get educational tips on how to conserve water to the public also. A great deal of water can be conserved at home by: taking showers instead of baths, use low-flow or water efficient appliances, repair leaky pipes and faucets, and collect rainwater to water plants with. Additionally, we need to get more than the general public involved, the industry and government need to be involved also, which leads us to the final phase of the sustainment plan. Industries use a large amount of water to keep their plants and businesses going; therefore, if they need to start taking part in water conservation. Industries can help with this just by installing waterless urinals, low-flow toilets, and motion sensor sinks. Then the government needs to also join in the effort by redoing their government buildings. Local governments can also get involved by starting local organizations about water conservation and water pollution; however, many states already have started these kinds of programs. On an international level, our national leaders need to form an international committee that teaches water conservation, monitors water usage, and helps with water purification for countries that do not have access to clean water. Water conservation is just not a local problem, it is an international problem; therefore, we need this water sustainment plan to be in action, even though there is some challenges along with the benefits. The benefits of this plan are that if it does reach people and the government, there will be a good sustainable plan in action; therefore, our water supply will last longer and help other countries have a cleaner water supply. The main challenge of getting this sustainment plan in action would be to get people to follow it. Even though people hear and see a problem, it does not mean they will do something to help correct it. Additionally, organizations will have to find funding to get all these plans in operation. However, with the proper management, this sustainment plan should be able to reap the benefits it was designed to. Hopefully, this sustainment plan will be a foundation for an international conservation project because it is a very serious international problem. With our population ever increasing and our water supply running short, we as a planet need to do everything we can to protect our water resources. We do not want to face the consequences of totally depleting this resource. Without water, there would be no plants, animals or humans. Even though there are researchers working on desalinization projects, it is an expensive procedure; therefore, we need to learn to conserve the useable water that we have on our planet.

References Brown, Roy W. (1999). When We Hit the Wall: The Lesson is Likely to be Painful. Free Inquiry , 19(2), 23. Retrieved March 28, 2009, from General OneFile database. (Gleick, 1995). Gleick, Peter. (1995). Human Population and Water: To the Limits in the 21st Century. Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security. Retrieved March 24, 2008, from http://www.aaas.org/international/ehn/fisheries/gleick.htm Jury, W., & Vaux, H. (2007, November). THE EMERGING GLOBAL WATER CRISIS: MANAGING SCARCITY AND CONFLICT BETWEEN WATER USERS. Advances in Agronomy, 95, 1-76. Retrieved March 28, 2009, doi:10.1016/S0065-2113(07)95001-4 SID (2008). Urbanization and Water. Retrieved March 24, 2009, from http://www.sidint.org/FILE_CONTENT/292-44.pdf United Nations Population Fund (2003). Global Population and Water Access and Sustainability. Retrieved March 24, 2009, from http://web.unfpa.org/upload/lib_pub_file/190_filename_globalwater_eng.pdf.

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