“WATER WATER EVERYWHERE, NOT A DROP TO DRINK.” As the saying goes, it’s true that we find water everywhere but consumable water is minimal. How can we expect a survival without water? It is high time that we be alarmed of this and takes necessary steps to prevent water depletion. We shall discuss about what water depletion is, causes and effects and what effective water management is.
Water is the most precious resource for the existence and survival on earth. Three forth of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Out of this 90% is salt water unfit for consumption. Only 2% of the total water is fresh water that can be consumed. So, the wise use of this valuable natural resource is very essential. Around 60% of the human body is water and 90% of the blood is water. The human brain is 75% water. Water resource can be defined as sources of water that are useful for humans for various activities. Some of the fresh water sources are ground water, surface water, frozen water, and desalination. Ground water means the fresh water that is present in the surface of soil and rocks. Water flowing below the water table is also considered ground water. Ground water is seeped into the ground through surface water and this is commonly used for agriculture and household purposes. Surface water is the water in lakes, rivers and oceans. There quantities are naturally increased by rains and naturally decreased by evaporation, climate changes and human activities. Frozen water is the water in the glaciers and icebergs. Though these are considered fresh water, it cannot be utilized. Desalination is a process of conversion of salty sea water into fresh water. Distillation and reverse osmosis are the two processes by which desalination is done.
Water depletion means depletion means drastic reduction in the total amount of usable water due to human activities and change in the environment. This is a threat to the environment. Some of the causes for water depletion are discussed below.
CAUSES FOR DEPLETION OF WATER
- Excessive demand of water : due to over population, the demand of water has increased considerably. More quantities of water are used and wasted over the time.
- Evaporation : due to global warming and change in the climate, more amounts of surface water and ground water is being evaporated due to excessive heat. There is a decline in the level of water in the reservoir and dams due to evaporation.
- Pollution : most of the industrial waste water are dumped to these water sources. This in turn pollutes and contaminates water. This can be considered another reason for depletion of water resources.
- Deforestation : This can be considered a major cause for water depletion. Large scale deforestation considerably lowers the capacity of the soil to retain water and this affects the water table.
- Poor storage : due to poor storage facilities, lots of rain water is wasted. The technological development in procuring rain water and storing it for future use is low. A lot of water is again lost due to ignorance. This again causes depletion.
- Saltwater : deep within the ground, the water gets mixed with salt water and it is termed as saltwater contamination. This in turn reduces the availability of usable water. This is another reason for depletion of water resources.
- Low rainfall : rainfall has reduced considerably over the years. This is mainly because of large scale deforestation and drastic climatic changes. These add to the reduction in water resources.
- Agriculture : agricultural activities steadily increasing by the day which means more water is pumped for use. For agricultural use more ground water is pumped because it’s free of cost. This can be done by fixing a bore well. This reduces the levels of water leading to its depletion. [Also refer about Agricultural pollution ]
- Urbanization : the government and the people have behind urbanization. This has really affected the water resources because of mass deforestation.
- Seepage : when the collected water is transported through the canals and pumps, a lot of water is seeped into the ground and lost. This again causes depletion.
EFFECTS OF WATER DEPLETION
- Deep wells : as a result of water depletion, deep wells need to be dug because of the water shortage. Pumps will have to be put deeper and deeper to extract water.
- Expensive resource : water being a renewable resource, it will become very expensive due to limited availability. If this resource is used, wasted, polluted and depleted, it will become a non-renewable resource.
- Contamination : one of the major effects of depletion is contamination. For getting water, deep wells are dug as a result the ground water gets mixed with salty water deep within making it contaminated. This is known as salt contamination. This eventually reduces the amount of consumable water.
- Marine life : due to the depletion, contamination and evaporation of surface water, the marine life gets affected. This is a threat to the fishes, flora, fauna and all the creature of the sea.
- Agriculture : agricultural productivity depends on the availability of water. Agriculture cannot exist without adequate supply of water. Due to the depletion of water resource, the output or the productivity of agriculture reduces which affects the food supply of the country.
- Aquifers : an aquifer is a permeable rock that holds ground water. This can be used for water supply for agriculture and other human activities. An aquifer can be at different depths depending on a lot of natural factors. So as a result of depletion, the aquifers also get depleted.
EFFECTIVE WATER MANAGEMENT
- Alternative source : any other alternative source of water should be discovered so as to avoid further depletion.
- Technology : newer technology should be developed so that proper storage of ground water can be attained without leakage. This can reduce depletion to an extent. Comprehensive research should be done to find new methods.
- Awareness : the government should organize effective campaign and make people aware of the how precious and priceless the water resources are. Awareness should be reach all levels of the society including children. Special classes should be conducted in each and every school of the country. People should be taught to reduce, reuse and recycle water to avoid wastage. All these measures can be taken to reduce and avoid water depletion.
- Plant more trees : afforestation can reduce depletion to a great extend. The roots of the plants and trees helps to hold more water thus increasing the ground water. This prevents soil erosion too.
- Don’t pollute water : throwing of industrial waste and other harmful chemical into the water should be banned completely. Proper measures and strict laws should be passed to check pollution of the water resources. This in turn preserves the naturality of the water available which can be for future use. Less contamination and pollution reduces depletion to a large extent.
- Ground water pumping : no measures are adopted to check the pumping of ground water. So more and more water is being pumped because it’s free of cost. This should be completely banned so that the ground water can be preserved.
To conclude, water is very essential for the survival of mankind. If these available water resources are not preserved, it might become a non renewable resource. Reduce; reuse and recycle should be the motto. Effective utilization without wastage of water resources should be made effective so that the future generations of mankind is not affected.