Fresh Water Shortage Essay, Research Paper
Table of Contents 2
Year 2000 Opinions 3
Global Warming Issues 5
Technical Advances 6
Academic and Research Interviews 7
Best Case isn?t Utopia 9
The Probably Outcome 11
The Worst Case 12
References or Bibliography 14
Water…Water…everywhere, and not a drop to drink, or so it will seem. While seventy one percent of our planet is covered by water, it would seem that we could never run out. But of that seventy one percent, ninety seven percent is salt water. The other three percent is fresh water, which is in the form of: oceans, glaciers, polar caps, lakes, rivers, and ground water. Out of this three percent, only one percent is available for use to nourish agriculture, humans, and animals and to run our factories.
In the year 2000, there is a global shortage of fresh water. Increasingly, sources of water are becoming polluted, together with the environment. This leads me into the question I pose for the future and the topic of this report. Will there be enough drinking water to support mankind in the year 2025?
In this report, I will present expert opinions as too emerging trends and possible future trends in consumption and conservation. I will perform environmental scanning of the public, political and expert opinions of the present and possible future concerns towards our global shortage of fresh water and any opposition I find. I will create several scenarios as too the possible future ramifications of a global shortage of fresh water supported by experts in hydrology and environmentalism. I will also present expert opinion as to the effects of an ever expanding global population on our fresh water supply.
Year 2000 Opinions
Throughout mankind?s four and one half million years on this planet, the world’s fresh water reserves were more than adequate to serve human needs while maintaining the integrity and biological diversity of the earth’s ecosystems. As population of this planet has grown, we have increasingly tapped deeper into our planets fresh water resources and are now finding less available when and where it is needed. Our available fresh water is static, there is essentially no more fresh water on the planet today than there was 2,000 years ago when the earth’s human population was less than three percent its current size. The trend of population growth is quite obvious.
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, International Data Base, the population of the world in 1955 was 2.8 billion; in the year 1990, the world?s population increased to 5.3 billion. According to World Watch, the population is expected to reach between 7.9 and 9.1 billion people by the year 2025. As population increases exponential, so does demand, but changes in social attitudes and behaviors could redirect our present course and possibly curb the global population growth.
Social and economic trends in population growth appear to be changing. Our past can provide substantial insight into our future. Family planning services have had great success and produced dramatic results in reducing global population, thus reducing fresh water consumption. According the John Bongaarts, population has been reduced by an estimated 400 million people through the use of family planning programs. In many parts of the world, water problems are today more manageable than they otherwise would be because demand for, and access to, family planning began rising so dramatically 30 years ago. Economic and social developments, especially improved opportunities for women, also have made a significant contribution to reductions in population growth. Policies that extend and accelerate these trends today could have an even more dramatic impact on fresh water availability in the future and beyond. Success in family planning and education may seem far from the concerns of hydrologists and engineers, but they may matter just as much, and over the long term even more, to the future availability of fresh water to support mankind.
Examples of the current water shortage can be found through the world. According to a report by Newsletter of Environmental Geology, ”In Africa, Central Asia, the Near East and South America, some countries are already bickering over access to rivers and inland seas. ”Even within a country, competition for use can be fierce,” the report adds, giving as an example China’s Yellow river whose waters are in so much demand that it dries up before reaching the ocean.
As people use more water, the report cautions, less is left for vital ecosystem on which humans and other species depend and warns that today 20 percent of all fresh water fish species are endangered, vulnerable or recently have become extinct.
”In Egypt, diverting water from the Nile has virtually wiped out some 30 of 47 commercial species of fish. Lake Chad has shrunk from 25,000 square kilometers to just 2,000 square kilometers, while in Europe, the river Rhine is so polluted that 8 out of its 44 fish species have disappeared while another 25 are rare or endangered,” the report says.
Global Warming Issues
Another concern in maintaining fresh water supplies is global warming. Global warming will further aggravate the water shortage throughout the globe. Problems in North China as evaporation of river water will far exceed rainfall, reported a recent issue of the China Water Resources News. The newspaper quoted scientist Ye Duzheng as saying that compared with the current level, the temperature will be increasing by 1.0-1.5 in winter by the year 2030, with rainfall remaining unchanged, while the summer temperature will witness a rise of 0.5-0.8 degrees Celsius, with rainfall edging up by 1-2 percent. However, the rainfall that results from global warming will not be enough to make up the loss in river water, said the newspaper.
Global trends of increased population as well changes in modern agriculture, industry and urban lifestyles are causing water tables and river levels to fall. These trends are evident by our growing interdependence on deeper wells to capture underground aquifers. The depletion of groundwater is becoming apparent throughout the world. According to the World Bank, ten cities in China’s northern provinces are experiencing as much as one meter annual drops in their water tables. Also, according to an article by Jae-Bok Young of The Christian Science Monitor, exploitation of groundwater in Bangkok is causing the city to sink 2 to 4 inches a year, leading to cracked pavements, broken sewer and water pipes, seawater intrusion and flooding. The United States is not immune from this crisis. In an article by World Watch Institute, as early 1980, water tables in Texas were falling by as much as six inches a year, although that rate has since moderated.
The first level of consequences from a global water shortage is already being felt by the poorest nations of the world, such as: Jordan, Kenya, Burundi, Tunisia, Algeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Yemen and Somalia. Countries that share water reserves such as lakes and rivers as well as aquifers that cross international borders could incite ?Water Wars? to protect their interests.
I recently read an article in Reuters that stated “Global warming is not only real but it is accelerating, U.S. government researchers say. In the past 25 years alone, average global temperatures have started zooming up at a rate that works out to two degrees Celsius (four degrees Fahrenheit) per century, the team at the National Climate Data Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said.”
An example of the emerging technological advancements is the reverse osmosis desalination plant named “Bell-Buoy” that processes fresh water on Maguey Island. The plant consumes no power from external sources. It includes a ten foot high-pressure pump and a reverse osmosis module. This pump is placed in 60 feet of water and a buoy rises and falls with the waves of the water, which operates the pump. This pump serves to filter out the sand and yields fresh drinking water. The pump was tested and operates at an eight percent proficiency level. It can produce up to 1,000 gallons of drinking water for every four days.
Distillation is another method of producing fresh water from sea water. The process involves heating sea water to the point where it changes into steam and then collecting and condensing the steam which contains low or no salts. There have been advances made in this area using solar energy to drive the steam production, but it still has problems. The problems encountered using solar energy is that it requires a vast amount of surface area of the planet to produce any significant amount of fresh water. This type of water purification is useless to urban areas and the use of this process is better left to arid nations that are aligned along ocean frontage.
Academic and Research Interviews
As an addition to the research I collected from various newspapers and Internet sites, I also wrote Dr. Altaf Memon, the director of the environmental management curriculum at UMUC and Mr. Ravi Damera, who is a practicing environmental engineer. I sent identical letters to each and received letters from them that were uniquely the opinion of the respondent.
After I introduced myself, I ask them to respond to this question, ?Based on the exponential growth of the world population, I feel that it will be hard to maintain adequate fresh water supplies to a population of over 9.1 billion people. If it is possible, can you please give me your opinion, as too what impact almost doubling the current population will have in the future??
Mr. Ravi Damera, who replied to my question on Mar 10, 2000, not only agreed with my assumption, ?that it will be hard to maintain adequate fresh water supplies to a population of over 9.1 billion people?, also provided me with a list on reasons why this was occurring. Mr. Ravi Damera reply is as follows, ?Richard, I agree with you. There is already water shortage in several developing countries. Several countries provide water to their consumers only for a few hours of the day. Following are some of the causes that lead to this water shortage that I can think of:
1. Contamination of water supplies
2. Changing weather patterns (Is it due to global warming?)
3. Just increased demand for increasing population
4. Increased consumption from changing life styles
5. Salt water intrusion into groundwater aquifers due to melting of
Polar ice caps
Mr. Ravi Damera had touched upon what I also thought to be the same issues and concerns for the future of fresh drinking water in the year 2025. His opinion confirmed my assumptions as too the current and future crisis we will be facing.
Later in the same day, I received an email response from Dr. Altaf Memon. As I had mentioned before, I had sent him the same question, but received a somewhat different response, which was; ?Richard, I do agree that the water resources are becoming limited to sustain the ever burgeoning population. I have read many reports forecasting the time when it will emerge as the prime bone of contention among the nations and people. However, it is hard to really forecast with any accuracy. But definitely the trends are towards this scenario happening sooner or later. I hope this gives you some direction in your research. Thanks. Al Memon?.
Dr. Altaf Memon had agreed with my theory of a looming fresh water crisis, but felt there was still insufficient information to place an exact date on when this will occur. I was happy with this response also because, it is not always easy to predict a date when an event will occur, but too acknowledge that it will occur reaffirms most of my theory that there is a crisis developing.
Later that day, I replied to each of them and thanked them for their time and effort in helping me to compile this report.
Best Case isn?t Utopia
Key achievements in 2025.
¨ The world is under maximum population as per Population Control Task Force directive, the task force was formed under the auspices of the United Nations in 2003, after warnings of global starvation and to prevent the looming Water Wars in the Middle East.
¨ It has been decided by Population Control Task Force that continued mandatory use of male and female birth control would be needed to keep the population in balance.
¨ Generally the world has been able to keep up with food production, localized starvation still occurs in some third world nations.
¨ The United States, being the only superpower, has now considered itself the long arm of enforcement for the United Nations.
¨ The Star Wars program of globally positioned satellites system that can produce high energy laser blasts, which was kept secret by United States until fully deployed in 2003, provides the command and control needed to maintain peace throughout the world.
¨ The Star Wars system is not only capable of defensive strategic activity, but can be used in offensive attacks as well. The system can deliver decisive power anywhere on the globe to assure continuation of peace. This information wasn?t disclosed until Jordan threatened War against Israel in 2003, because of lack of fresh water.
¨ The UN, concerned that this might lead into World War III, asked the United States to intervene. The intervention by Stars Wars later promoted the creation of the World Water Accord, which guarantees all nations have the right to enough fresh sustain their current populations.
¨ Since there are now less than 6 billion habitants on Earth, the World Food Counsel, who is also under the auspices of the United Nations, has eased the military patrols that were monitoring all import/export of grain. Regulating food supplies has proved a powerful means of controlling non-conforming nations. And crop yields in the farming nations are at there highest in the last ten years through the increased use geothermal water transport systems. With this increase in water and food production , and the revitalized global concern about maintaining fresh water reserves, the world is still not a utopia, but there is a sense that humanity might see another millennium since mankind has enough water to fulfill its needs.
¨ Through years of research in solar energy conversion, increased solar panel output has been achieved; this has allowed solar power as well as sea wave action to drive desalinators converting sea water into fresh water. Solar power or wave action alone could not force the water inland enough to provided fresh water levels required for sustainable farm production.
¨ Because of the increased energy required to pump the fresh water back into the world?s aquifers, geothermal steam exchangers have been installed deep into the earth along the pipeline path. The energy produced by steam exchanger?s pump the fresh water back into the once depleted aquifers also.
¨ All streams, rivers, lakes and polar caps are now under the protection of the Environmental Security Service, the environmental security arm of the United Nations (ESS).
¨ Environmental Security is achieving great success in closing holes in the ozone by mandatory spraying of O/2 during regular commercial airline flights.
¨ The ESS reforestation effort has been successful in preventing flooding in Central America while streams and lakes have shown significant improvement.
The Probably Outcome
Achievements and News announcements for 2025.
¨ The world population is at 7.9 billion, which was the best case scenario as per World Watch?s prediction in the year 2000.
¨ It has been found that continued voluntary use of male and female birth control has kept the population from expanding at exponential rates.
¨ Due to the shortage of fresh water, the world has not been able to keep up with food production and starvation is occurring in some third world nations reducing some of the overcrowding.
¨ An increase in skin cancer has also contributed to a reduction in population growth, as the Ozone continues to be depleted.
Although I refer mainly to the United States here, it but an example of what is going on throughout the rest of the planet.
¨ Because of man-made Greenhouse gases, the Earth’s surface has heated up appreciably over the past 25 years. Due to the increased temperature, the United States has shifted some of their fruit and vegetable crops to its northern states. The crops are doing well year round since frost is no longer a threat between the thirty and sixty degree latitudinal areas of the planet. Montana and North Dakota are being plowed under to produce wheat.
¨ The lowest western states of the United States are desolate and deserted waste lands, where the average daily temperature can exceed 135 degrees.
¨ Due to years of independent research in solar energy conversion, increased solar panel output has been achieved and this has allowed solar power to maintain many of our energy needs in our homes.
¨ Independent research funded by the mega power companies of the past century has created new avenues of wealth for them in this century. They now sell water, that is vital to food production around the globe. There is now large sea-water, wave-action, electrical generators that use the constantly moving wave motion to drive the salt water to and through fresh water desalinators. The mega power companies also are responsible for the creation of the geothermal steam exchangers used along their pipelines to pump the fresh water back into their reservoirs.
¨ Health concerns have changed little in the past twenty-five years. There has been no significant reduction in cancer cases and no cure has been found in the treatment of AIDS. Gene therapy has made some advancement, but the major causes of death have not changed. The average life expectancy has not increased in twenty-years.
The Worst Case
Archived Events for 2025.
¨ The world population is at 9.1 billion, which was the worst case scenario as per World Watch?s prediction in the year 2000.
¨ It has been found that voluntary use of female birth control and education has done little to keep the population from expanding at exponential rates.
¨ Drinking water supplies are in dire striates.
¨ Due to the shortage of fresh water and an example of second level consequences, the world has not been able to keep up with food production and starvation is occurring in third world nations.
¨ The G8 nations have been able to keep up with their internal demands for water and food supplies, but are unable and unwilling to support the overpopulated starving nations.
¨ The G8 nations were prepared for this possibility and had developed resources to maintain their sovereignty and borders. The G8 have been isolating themselves to only members of the G8 to assure their populous that some part of humanity will survive after the population is reduced to a manageable level.
¨ The lack of food production has caused outbreaks of civil unrest and we are at the third level of consequences brought about by the shortage of fresh water. Cities that once stood high and proud and now finding their infrastructure as well as their buildings collapsing do to the settling of the earth and their foundations into depleted aquifers. Broken pipes abound, causing loss of pressure and increasing the scarcity of water.
¨ Nations are warring with their neighbors over water reservoirs. The shortage of fresh water has caused a world wide economic collapse and since most nations have not produced any exports, there is no trade or exchange with those that have exportable goods.
¨ Health problems are cataclysmic, as disease and famine have broken out on every continent. Due to poor economic conditions, human waist has added to the contamination of the scarce fresh water supplies leaving the water ripe for the production of rapidly spreading diseases. The increasing number of corpses laid to rest in mass gravesites is causing contamination of the remaining ground water supplies. This is the end of civilization from a global perspective
I have painted three possible paths the future may follow and unless we are going to take the worst of the three, we must inform the stockholders of the world soon. As the population increases, it will be harder and harder to maintain peace throughout the world. And yes, we will have drinking water in 2025, if we take the time now to plan our children?s future, but if we don?t the prospects look bleak.
The path the future takes according to Albert Einstein has already been chosen for us since he believed we are in the past, present and future at the same time. I am sure that although Einstein had seen the future as predefined and those predefined actions that shaped our future must come through intervention on our part to be true. The United Nations is currently the only organized body that can provide the intervention needed and impose compliance with International Law as related to the shared use of fresh water. The United Nations must recognize their part in the bleak future that awaits us and can not wait years to start dealing with issuse. We must also, as citizens of the planet earth, each promote real solutions, concerns and a commitment to saving our race as soon as possible. If the United Nations is going to impose International Law completely and effectively, they must have the tools and resources to do so, as this would be setting precedent. We as United States citizens must support the ideas and mandates of the United Nations and provide them with what tools we can if this venture to save our world population has a chance.
Environmental Geology at Miami University, The Newsletter of Environmental Geology
Oxford, 1999. Available online: http://tgl.geology.muohio.edu/Focus/TheThreatofWaterShortage.html
Bongaarts, John; Mauldin, Parker, and Phillips, James. “The Demographic Impact of Family Planning Programs.”, Studies in Family Planning, 1990.
Global warming aggravating water shortage, Xinhua News Agency, January 11, 1999
Postel, Sandra. Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity. World Watch Institute. New York: W.W.Norton, 1992.
World Bank. 1992. World Development Report 1992 New York: Oxford University Press. 1992
Young, Jae-Bok. “Asia’s Rapid Urbanization Brings Economic Fruits.” The Christian Science Monitor, April 20, 1993.
Dakar, Senegal. Water Crisis Looms as World Population Grows, Panafrican News Agency, March 1, 1999.