- Date : 05/04/2019
- Read: 5 mins
Wasting water has enormously damaging effects which will be suffered by future generations.
From mid-2017 onwards, the city of Cape Town in South Africa was reeling from 'Water Crisis'. Water levels were only around 15% to 20% of total dam capacity. By the end of the same year, it was expected that “Day Zero” was coming closer which would signify massive rationing of water supply. Residents were dreading to stand in queues and collect water as municipal water suppliers would have been switched off from “Day Zero”. Cape Town was on the verge of becoming the first major city in the world to run out of water. Thankfully, water supply in the city started rising, thanks to severe water restrictions which substantially reduced consumption of water supply. The onset of strong rainfall eased this dire situation, much to the relief of the citizens of Cape Town. This chilling incident showed the world that one cannot ignore the possibility of a global water crisis in the years to come.
We need to be aware of the important aspects of water-usage, water-wastage and water-conservation. The world has woken up to climate change, global warming, groundwater depletion, deforestation and large-scale pollution. All these factors are going to aggravate the problem of scarcity of water for future generations. Supply of water can no longer be taken for granted.
Wasting water may affect our future generations in the following ways:
1. Water Scarcity Aggravated by Climate Change
It is expected that by 2020, around one-third of the world will be hit by water scarcity. According to researchers, climate change will make it worse. Future generations will have to survive with greater difficulty as climate change will fundamentally alter the way humans live. Seasons, weather-cycle and other climatic changes will affect rainfall and in turn aggravate the scarcity of water. Climate change induced by human activity will be a decisive factor in the availability of water for our future generations. Wasting water in the present situation will lead to depleted water resources.
2. Water Shortage in Developing Countries
Developing countries across the world are already dealing with a severe water crisis. Several countries have implemented programmes to conserve water resources. Reducing deforestation is also a crucial solution for encouraging good rainfall. However, the damage caused by industrialisation runs deep. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, by 2050, 20% of developing countries will face water shortages. Developing countries have a difficult task of spreading awareness about water conservation. Also, deforestation and rapid urbanisation have also led to reduced rainfall. All these factors are going to create an acute shortage of water. If our present generation continues to take for granted a precious resource like water then our future generations are going to pay heavily for our mistakes.
3. Rapidly Depleting Groundwater
Groundwater gives life to agriculture. Rainfall impacts the groundwater levels. If we don’t check out wastage of water then the world is increasingly going to face the problem of rapidly depleting groundwater. Scientists have estimated that northern India, which includes the nation’s breadbasket of wheat and rice production, is depleting groundwater at a rate of 54 billion cubic meters per year. According to a report by the Niti Aayog, cities such as Bengaluru and Delhi could run out of groundwater by 2020. Reduction in groundwater levels will mean reduced agricultural production. Higher water tables can lead to a better yield of crops. The future generations will be at the mercy of rainfall alone if the groundwater levels fall below the minimum.
4. Water Woes between the Nations
Water woes between the nations of our world have already threatened the way humans make use of the available water resources. Historically, many countries have been dealing with water-related conflicts. The United Nations has recognised water conflicts between several countries. According to studies conducted by the United Nations, 30 countries will be water scarce by 2025, which is a 50% rise from 1990. A not-so-distant future will present us with very serious issues of water-scarcity and this will give rise to deep conflicts all over the world. Human society needs potable water, water for industries, agriculture and urban development. Wasting water directly increases the expenditure on water processing. Therefore, it is important to save water and learn about ways to conserve our water-resources to safeguard future generations.
5. Future of Food
Human civilisation learnt to thrive with the advent of agriculture. Our world has witnessed tremendous growth in agricultural activities due to the ever-increasing demand for food. Food production is directly connected to the availability of water resources. Experts say that water scarcity will be one of the greatest challenges to future food security. Wastage of water or irresponsible use of water has long-term effects that will be suffered by future generations. One of the effects of scare water is reduced production of food. However, population growth will require more food. This demand for more food may not be met with adequately if the production has reduced due to depleted water resources. The present-day management of water resources will decide the availability of food for future generations.
World Bank estimates that water scarcity could cost certain regions 6% of their GDP. For instance, in Morocco, dwindling water supplies have caused losses worth US $350 million. World depletion has put us at the crossroads of our past and our future. We cannot undo our past but we can equip ourselves with the knowledge to help our future generations deal with the problem of water scarcity. In this article, you have seen the far-reaching effects of wasting water. We need to make our children aware of the importance of using water in a responsible manner. The future generations are not going to have it easy but we can reduce the damage with better habits of water-usage and water-conservation.