Availability of Clean Water
Water supports life as evidenced by the role it plays in the daily activities that people run. It is used in households for preparing food and drinking. Secondary uses include washing and cleaning. The quality and availability of water determines the life an individual leads it gives value to life. This is because human survival is totally dependent on the availability of water. Water is not only required for domestic use but also for use in industries, agricultural activities and even generation of electricity. The environment is also dependent on water for it to be regarded as safe for habitation and support of economic activities. These requirements revolve around the basic human requirements. Water plays a crucial role in the human being’s body and thus continuous efforts have been practised to ensure that water is always safe for drinking (Mohan p.1). Initially, America, which is a developed country did not experience problems with clean water. All the water sources were free of contamination with clean, pure water. However with the growth of population and industrialization, America is also experiencing scarcity of water. (MCLendon par 7).
The water consumed in most developed countries, in households and industries, is of standards that qualify its classification as potable water. In most parts of the world, people consume impure water laden with disease causing microorganisms that are a source of diseases. This is attributed to the increased cost of purifying and providing clean water that denies people the easy, cheap access. The widespread scarcity of clean water in the world prompts this consumption of potable water. Using clean water can tremendously reduce the cost incurred in medication as a result of waterborne illnesses (McComas p. 5). This paper will give a clear definition of clean water. The author will examine the amount of water in the US that is available for use. In addition, it will discuss inherent issues that are presenting obstacles to the provision of clean drinking water in the US and the extent of their impact.
Clean water is defined as pure water that can be taken or used for domestic activities without posing any health risk. This is because human survival is totally dependent on the availability of water. Water is required for domestic use, for use in industries, agricultural activities and even generation of electricity. The environment is also dependent on water for it to be regarded as safe for habitation and economic activities. These requirements revolve around the basic human requirements. It is thus concluded that water is life (Mohan p.1). Regarding water as life suggests that caution should be taken to ensure that the available water is safe for use. Based on this definition, lack of this clean water means a risk to life.
Wetlands in the US have disappeared through draining or destruction.It has been reported that about 3.5 million people in the U.S die from illnesses caused by sewage contact with drinking water. Forty per cent of the waters are polluted to the extent that they cannot support aquatic life, nor any other activity carried out in the rivers. There is plenty of water in this country but the scarcity is caused by contamination which makes the water unfit for consumption. In as much as water is available in wells, wetlands and rivers, this water may not be clean and pure. Chemicals present in surface water are harmful with some even reported to cause cancer. Controlling these chemicals involves treating the water when it enters the treatment plants and also as it is piped to the end points. Tap water has a risk of contamination; for example, in cases where microbes penetrate through the taps. This can be avoided by treating this water from the households again before consumption. Clean water is essential because most households use it for preparing food and for drinking. As such, clean water prevents contracting diseases that have been a significant cause of death cases in most parts of the world. Secondary uses include washing and cleaning. In recent times, water scarcity has become a widespread problem even to developed countries like the US (McLendon par 8).
The government of the U.S. has put a lot of efforts in controlling pollution because clean water also contributes to economic development. It is better for the government to spend on ensuring treatment and supply of clean water than on medication due to waterborne diseases. Pollution has been identified as a cause for water scarcity. It especially contaminates the surface water which has led to ground water and wells being the only sources safe water for American households. (Millazo par 3). Lack of clean water drags economic development because people tend to spend a lot of money on illnesses related to polluted water. Such expenses if avoided could be channelled to other economic activities which produce income. Money has been invested on sewage treatment and also in plants for tap water treatment. This is because a healthy nation means improved productivity hence generation of income. Efforts have been put in solving the problem of water wastage, but less has been done about its treatment.
Industrialization has been a backbone for economic development to most of the developed countries. The efficiency expected in output in comparison to the quantity of water used in industries is another area of concern. Some industries use and pollute a lot of water such that the benefits from these industrial plants are not worth the risk when compared to the harm done on the environment through pollution. For instance, mining activities have been known to contaminate the wells in the underground. These wells serve most of the US population and their contamination are a health risk to the majority of the population (MCLendon par 26). Run-offs from rivers and discharges from underground geological features also contaminate ground water and pose health risks to domestic users. Surface water is risky when it comes to microbial contamination; it requires care when collecting and using it. Water acidity is also significant in run off waters which can be treated through the addition of alkaline solutions in treatment plants (Alley p. 3.16). Water quality is decreased by pollution that leads to scarcity of clean drinking water. There should be a balanced relationship between industrialization and commercial development. This is because both trends have an impact on the availability of clean water and all serve to decrease the amount and quality of the available water. It can be solved by concentration of industries in a central region as well as treatment of the wastes before releasing them from these industries.
The world’s population is growing at a very high rate, and this has caused water shortages. With the increasing number of industrial and commercial holdings, more water is needed. Close to forty per cent of the population is experiencing water problems (Swain par 1). This is a challenge because, as the people increase, the water available remains constant. The situation is even worse because this little available water is polluted or reduced due to wasteful use. The Colorado River for instance supports agricultural activities that are a source of economic livelihood to the residents. Climatic warming has been cited as the main cause of the drying up of water reserves in the Colorado basins. The lower courses of the Colorado River are drying because of the high demand. Most people in the area use it for both irrigation and household consumption. As a result, it has been able to sustain the demand and the people living in the environs face a real scarcity threat in the future this is a source of economic development but has led to pollution of this water because most of the water is laden with pesticides and fertilizers (Kresan, par 11). With such pollution, the water may not be available for drinking or domestic use. When people are struggling to utilize the in adequate volumes of water available, health concerns have risen. There is a risk to Public health considering that the water is used to run the homes including drinking. Cases of river conflicts have arisen due to the increasing population and the demand for water in domestic consumption and agricultural activities (Swain par 3). These conflicts are a disturbance to peace and can be easily avoided through control on the supply of these shared resources. This way equal distribution is practised and fewer conflicts will occur.
Attention has shifted to maintaining the quality of the available waters. This is because most of the available water is contaminated through pollution. There is the lack of safe drinking water and this call for hygienic measures to provide clean water, due to the increased pollution. The treatment of tap water is a key step towards the provision of safe water. This can be done by ensuring all water directed towards domestic use is stored in one central place where treatment is done before piping. Treating from a central place ensures acceptable purity for use in households for cooking, drinking and cleaning. To increase safety, education on house hold treatment is also necessary. People will be able to take the initiative in treating water, and this is more reliable as compared to public treatment. Available means of purification include diluted chlorine available in chemists to kill germs in water. In addition to purified water hygiene will largely contribute towards maintaining the purity of drinking water. If clean and safe water is not preserved through storage in clean containers, and handling with clean hands then the purity may be questionable. Water is purified under in two categories; domestic waste water and the waste water from industries. These two wastes are purified separately to ensure that the industrial waste, which is toxic is fully purified (Alley P. 3.8).
Urbanization has contributed to increased pollution and strained water supply. The urban population experiences continuous growth with a lot of water being required for domestic and industrial use. This has required that policies be enforced to ensure sustainable use of water. Treatment and recycling of used water ensures that wastage is minimal (Asano p. 15). When such measures are taken to utilize the available water, quality of life is improved because the growing population is easily catered for without a lot of strain on resources. Water recycling is an indispensable way of conservation and consequently it availes water for other uses such as irrigation. The quality of the environment is also maintained because water sources are subjected to minimal toxic materials. Caution should be taken in treating this used water because an easy mistake can be extremely costly.This is because if water is not treated poses a health risk to a big population.
Climate change has affected water availability considerably. For instance, the drought experienced in the 1988 summer season was the beginning of continuous droughts, which led to drying up of rivers and wetlands (Rabe, P. 27). Tropical rainforests are no longer available leading to long periods of drought, due to economic activities. When rivers that provide clean drinking water to millions of people in the US are in the verge of drying up, then measures have to be taken to save them (Bonell and Leendert p.13). This can be done through upgrading of water management facilities and development of programmes to ensure protection of the environment. This is advisable because the main cause of this global warming is human induced. Industrial activities and wasteful water use significantly contribute towards these changes which cause droughts (Rabe 29). When water is diminished due to droughts, the demand for this water does not decrease. More over, it keeps rising forcing the population to compete for the little available water. These may be a serious health risk because they end up using unsafe water, which increases chances of infections.
Water conservation is a solution towards curbing water scarcity. This involves the control of the available water. Americans have the notion that they can waste water as long as they can pay for it. This has resulted to serious water shortages not only in America but the whole world.
Approximately two billion people are experiencing water problems (Mohan p.3). This is a misconception that such resources can be wasted as long as they are affordable. Diminished resources in the future will result to low supply. This will automatically lead to increased prices and thus seize to be affordable. This means that water may be available in plenty at a given time and scarce in the future. Wasteful use results to strains which would have otherwise been avoided. For an organisation to conserve water, it needs a plan for sustainable water use. This gives it responsibility for maintaining a sustainable environment. With commercial organizations being the most water demanding area of development, they should establish a plan for water use. These plans are meant to control wasteful use and also the degree of pollution (Mohan p.46).
Environmentalists are concerned with preservation of water sources suggest establishment of more energy sources or incentives to encourage people to use less water and energy. These alternative water solutions are both cost-effective and sustainable. These low-cost alternatives have successfully worked in counter acting the scarcity and high demand for clean water. This management of water demand helps to ensure equal distribution of water and ensure continuous availability (Mays P.15). An alternative source of water is also a crucial step towards water conservation. Rain water can help people to maintain sustainable water levels for domestic use when harvested and stored in large tanks for domestic use. This is because people know the source of the water and, therefore, are able to take appropriate measures before using the water. These include treatment in case the water is affected by industrial emissions that pollute cloud water (Dunnet and Clayden p. 96).
The world is facing water shortage due to the unbalanced relationship between population growth and the limited water availability. Water polluting activities and wasteful use of water are also contributing to the scarcity of safe and clean water. From this observation, the best tool towards curbing this problem is water conservation. This can be done by conducting education campaigns to enlighten people on water saving techniques as well as lifestyles that do not pollute the environment especially water. There are many sources of water pollution, both man-made and natural. Man-made pollution termed as non point is the main cause of pollution and controlling it would avail clean water for consumption. Various efforts are being made, and their success is a crucial source of hope for the availability of clean water. These natural causes such as storms and drought have been attributed to changes in climatic patterns. These can only be avoided by anticipating the expected effects and coming up with disaster preparedness strategies to counter acted their effects. The current amounts of water available can support the population sustainably on condition that the pollution was reduced. Reduced pollution coupled with continuous purification of the available water and healthy hygienic practices will result in the availability of clean water.
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