Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Water Crisis and Future Strategies

Authors Dr. Mujahid Ali, Tahir Mehmood (WMRF, Renala Khurd, Okara) (WMTI, Lahore)

Importance of water: It is estimated that nearly one million peoples die due to unavailability of drinking water. By 2050, more than half of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas. Water is driving source of life. World Economic Form has categories water scarcity on top of global issues. No metabolism activity is possible without water in living organisms. One of the leading crises a human is going to face is freshwater scarcity. A person who holds things in abundance forgets their importance. Freshwater is one of the blessings which is diminishing, and no one is caring. All efforts are going but still, the graph is going upward. According to a projection by the United Nations, by 2040, there can be about 4.5 billion people affected by a water crisis. A big challenge for developing and underdeveloped countries facing such a situation. Water crises are best described by a poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as “Water Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink”

Definition: A freshwater crisis is defined as “an inadequacy or insufficient water or have water but not fit to use” No issue is more critical than the water crises for the globe. If there would be the third world war that might be due to water.

There are two major types of Water Scarcity

  1. Physical Water Scarcity: it occurs where water is not sufficient to meet requirement of vegetations to grow and other ecosystem requirements.
  2. Economic Water Scarcity: It occurs where there is water near about however, it is not feasible to draw or extract water. So ecosystem is affected.

Reasons of being diminishing of freshwater

a) Industrialization 

Industrial waste has several chemicals and heavy metals which pollute the fresh water when meets it. For example, textile, tannin, and leather factories have a huge amount of affluents.  

b) Urbanization/Deforestation: Urbanization through sewerage water is also a source of polluted drinking/fresh water. Deforestation is further aggravating the crises.

c) Agricultural Misuse: Our flood irrigation system’s loss of water is about 90%. This is creating alarming conditions.

d) Seepage: Seepage/leakages from rivers, canals, or water courses is another source of loss of water.  

e) Personal: Personal wastage through open tap without caring is another example. Washing of clothes by wasting a lot of water is common practice.

f) Global Warming and climate change: Global warming through climate change is one of the vital factors for drying of agricultural lands.

Consequences: Now life is under threat due to a shortage of water. freshwater is becoming rare. Water table is going down day by day. Somewhere lands are becoming barren. Unequal distribution and conflicts of water sources among countries are burning issues. Drinking of polluted water is causing health problems. Food security is under threat now as water shortage in agricultural production is serious issue.

Solution: Its solution is best described by Hadith as “Do not waste a single drop of water even if you are at a running stream”. Following steps are necessary for saving water.

a) Public Awareness: First and foremost, duty is to create awareness of the vitality of fresh water. We can use all kinds of media e.g., parents should guide children, directly, through mass/print media, and social media (WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) for propagating the dangerous situation coming in the next few years. Awareness campaigns by arranging conferences/seminars/congress both in-person and virtual would be effective.  

b) Management Strategies: Filtration plants would be at doorstep. Municipal Water supply must be efficient and functional. To save water in flood irrigation drip, sprinkler, central pivot, and hose reel irrigation would be encouraged. The lining of canals, and water courses to stop seepage loss of water be subsidized. Tree plantation campaign should be encouraged to make environment natural and avoiding global warming which indirectly hitting our water resources. Building of dams and water reservoirs would be helpful to cope with this.

c) Government Policies: Government should take step to avoid pollutant of sewerage and industrial wastewater to mix with fresh water. Hydraulic systems must be developed and make more efficient. There must be a water policy with a per-unit price of water pumping through tube-well for agricultural use even in those areas where water is sufficient with the aim that this would be depleted if not charged. However, it must not be compulsory for poor communities. 

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Dr. Mujahid Ali
Dr. Mujahid Ali
I am working as Assistant Horticulturist (BS-18) at Water Management Research Farm Renala Khurd, before this served as Assistant Professor (IPFP) in Horticulture at the University of Sargodha. I have completed my Ph.D. in 2018 from the Institute of Horticultural Sciences, UAF previously worked as Visiting Lecturer in Horticulture UOS, worked as Research Fellow in ACIAR project on vegetables, and worked as Teaching Assistant in Horticulture UAF. Moreover, Ph.D. IRSIP did in the NC State University, United States.

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