Water is life. Imagine earth without water- the soil without water in it will grow nothing it would be lifeless, dust, sand, or rock. Imagine air without water, it would be impossible to breather in. 80% of our body is made up of water.
How much water we have?
The Earth is full of water. There is water on surface of the earth in form of rivers, oceans, lakes and ponds. There is water below earth surface. Water is also present in form of ice in glaciers and in form of vapour in air.
About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. So it would seem that water is one thing we would never have to worry about. But actually here is. 96.5 percent of Earth’s water is in oceans- which is saline. While oceans also support life, but when it comes to land animals and plants, we need non-saline water, we need drinkable water. Which is less than 3% of the entire reserve.
Water is never ever sitting still- even when it appears to. Thanks to the water cycle, water is constantly changing form and place. Water from oceans evaporate under Sun, these vapours form cloud which brings rain across planet. Entire earth’s water supply is constantly moving from one place to another and from one form to another. If there was no water cycle, the water will become stale, bacteria and fungi will grow in it- making it unusable for humans.
Water Consumption Trend
Water is required for our day to day activities- from needs like food to wants and luxuries like playing golf. The demand of water has been constantly increasing. And unfortunately most of this is for freshwater, we have not been able to use saline water (and even if we learn to transportation will be a challenge.
Since 1900, the population of earth has more than tripled. The water demand per capita is constantly increasing. This has increased our water consumption exponentially. It has been estimated that humanity now appropriates 54 percent of accessible runoff, and could be using 70 percent by the year 2025 .
Population distribution and water stress areas
The amount of freshwater in the world has reached to almost a constant level over billions of years of earth and water cycle. So why there should be a water crisis now? What has changed? Well, population explosion is definitely an issue. Another critical thing is uneven distribution of population. It is not at all mapped to the freshwater supply (which is not very practical or easy either).
At present some 40 percent of the world’s population live in areas with moderate to high water stress. By 2025 this is expected to increase to two thirds – or 5.5 billion people .
The threat to water availability is scary and more imminent than ever. Day zero is the day when water supply in a city will have to be stopped.
Cape Town, South Africa, is the first city to face this threat . There were huge campaigns and awareness programs run in the city to educate the citizens to cut down their water needs. They had to stop watering their gardens and even cut on flushes in the toilet.
Day zero threat is not just looming over Capetown but dozens larger cities like Bangalore, London, Tokyo are facing this threat . Thankfully, the Day zero clock of Cape Town has been advanced by a year. But the threat is not at all over. Unless we make habit of better water recycling and make lifestyle amends, day zero is hanging over our heads.