Monday, July 1, 2013

Water Access- Availability & Challenges

Approximately 80% of all illnesses in developing countries are caused to poor water and sanitation condition. It is common for women and girls to have to walk several kilometers every day to fetch water for their families. Once filled, water jugs can weigh as much as 20 kg (44 lbs).

In the last century, water use has greatly outpaced the rate of population growth: people are using more water than ever before. By 2025, up to 1.8 billion people could face water scarcity. Water scarcity can take two forms: physical water scarcity, or low quantity of water, and economic water scarcity, or low quality of water.

Physical Water Scarcity

This term typically applies to dry, arid regions where fresh water naturally occurs in low quantities. This is being greatly exacerbated by anthropogenic activities that take surface and ground water faster than the environment can replenish it. Regions most affected by this type of water scarcity are Mexico, Northern and Southern Africa, the Middle East, India, and Northern China.

Economic Water Scarcity

Economic water scarcity applies to areas or cultures that lack the fiscal resources and/or human capacity to invest in water sources and meet the local demand. Water is often only available to those who can pay for it or those in political power; leaving millions of the world's poorest without access. Regions most affected by this type of scarcity are portions of Central and South America, Central Africa, India, and South East Asia. It is important to highlight the distinction between these two forms of scarcity: water can be physically available, but the resources are not available to improve it and distribute it to those who need it.