What is a summary of the water shortage problem and solution?
Summarizing the global water shortage problem and solution is challenging. It is important to note that 785 million people lack a basic drinking water source and at least 2 billion people use a water source that is contaminated with feces.1 That’s a major problem that leads to serious waterborne diseases and even death.
Consider a remote village in South Asia where a young girl must walk 3 hours to access water. Sometimes, the water she collects is contaminated with feces or other pollutants. She may bring water back to her family, but that water is likely to give them a waterborne disease. The process of collecting water also keeps her from school and continues the cycle of poverty in her family.
While the water shortage problem is most urgent in developing countries, it is wise not to overlook the issues in developed areas. For example, more than 30 million Americans live in areas without access to safe drinking water.2
Cape Town, South Africa, is an interesting example of the water shortage problem and they have also provided some possible solutions. The BBC lists Cape Town “in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.”3 The crisis has been exacerbated by three years of low rainfall and a growing population.
What is Cape Town doing to find solutions? Cape Town has instituted water restrictions and has banned swimming pools and car washing. The city has invested in desalination plants to transform their seawater into fresh drinkable water. They are also working on groundwater collection projects and recycling programs. Is it too late? Only time will tell.
Across the world, countries, cities, and individual communities are seeing the problem and searching for solutions.
1 “Drinking-water. Key facts.” World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water, June 14, 2019.
2 Mulholland, John. “Is it too much to ask for Americans to have access to clean water in 2020?” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/us-clean-water-crisis-2020-guardian-us-editor. June 23, 2020.
3 “The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town.” BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959. February 11, 2018.