Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Water Shortage Problems

        With almost 75% of the surface of the Earth covered in water one would think, “How can there be a shortage of it?” Well the difference between what all the Earth is covered in and how much of that is actually able to be used for purposes of drinking, or irrigating, or other means human use is quite large.  The amount of water that is accessible for humans to be able to drink is just only 1% and 2-3% is tapped in glaciers and snowfalls that we cannot get to (National Geographic).  With so little water accessible for human consumption it is important to make sure we never run out, but that is starting to become a problem in many areas of the world today.  This is due to a number of reasons, which includes droughts, mismanagement of water sources, and overpopulation. Because of these factors a number of problems have arose with wildlife being killed, farmlands drying up, and also people moving in large numbers to bigger cities.                 Drought is a huge problem that is affecting many regions of the Earth including; the American Southwest, Central and South America, most of Africa, and the Middle East.  Right here in the U.S the Southwest is facing a huge problem where they could be facing a drought for the next 35 years (LA Times) and this would be bad for the already drying up Colorado River because it will cause even more reduction in the river.  The Colorado River, which once ran into a lush delta in Mexico, is now drying up due to a lot of consumption from the US (NY Times). According to the NY Times the delta is not officially dead, but its once vital estuaries are now shrinking very quickly.  The wildlife that swam and ran around the delta, the forests that once surrounded it and the farmlands that once flourished are all now dying because of this shrinking (NY Times). This is not the only area this is happening to though.  In South America 98% of the Caimans and 80% of Capybaras population have died because of the drought of the Pilcomayo River (National Geographic).
When it comes to farming drought is really the main problem because the ground dries up and the soil can no longer be farmed. There are also problems with this in Africa and the Middle East as well.  Africa may be seeing this worst because there are countries with poor irrigation and with a drought soon to hit that is going to have a huge negative impact on the natural water resources there (Nature World News).  Also, this will have a huge effect on those countries being able to grow crops and they are going to have to rely on more developed countries in the area to help provide the foods that they need (Nature World News).
            Another problem that is affecting the shortage of water is the mismanagement of the water resources themselves. In South America this is being seen with the Pilcomayo River where both Argentina and Paraguay are being said to have laziness, inefficiency, and irresponsibility in the rehabilitation of the Paraguayan canal (National Geographic).  Because of the inefficiency of the water in the channels and canals that has led to them drying up because there were not monitored closely and has been a factor in why the wildlife are dying in the area.  But recently Argentina has been improving efforts greatly to build up canals to be able to have a water surplus again and help maintain the wildlife (National Geographic).     
            A third problem contributing to the water shortage is that of overpopulation.  This is seen a lot in the U.S. especially in the California area of LA because so many people have moved to that area and water is being used so much more than expected now because of it.  Now city planners have to make sure they have ways to know how much water should be used by people every year and have to make sure people are not exceeding that so there is still enough water for everyone.  A place though that is really being affected by this is the Middle East.  It is said that the war that started in Syria in 2011 was caused by war shortage because of drought 1.5 million people had to leave their land and move to bigger cities, which caused general destabilization in Syria, which sparked the war (The Guardian).  Many small cities and towns in the Middle East are and have in some places already ran out of water because of this many people are going to bigger cities in the hundreds of thousands and causing water shortage there because there was a sudden increase of so many people (The Guardian). In Damascus the rich are making their own wells taping into the water supply, but by doing so contaminating the ground water, which makes it so the millions in the city do not have clean water to drink.  By there being overpopulation in cities where they are not use to it causes there to be water shortages because the city was not prepared well enough to handle that many people and know how much water that many people can use up.
            Water shortages are a big problem all around the world, but in places like the American Southwest, Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East where they have hot climates and constantly lots of droughts happening. But, the droughts are not the only effects with mismanagement by some countries and overpopulation lead to a lot of problems.  This problems include a lot of different wildlife being killed off, which those can have their own effect on other wildlife in the area. Also, farmlands being destroyed because there is no way that it would be possible to farm on top of dried out soil and also with the farmlands drying up people are moving into larger cities and making those too crowed and over populated. In the end I feel that even though some things like drought are out of countries hands, there are other things like overpopulation and how much farming is done on land that can help the water problem in some places. By controlling how much is being used the water would be monitored more and lead to less shortage problems.   

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