Although 70% of the planet’s surface is covered by water, only 3% is suitable for consumption. The majority of the earth’s water is either salty or frozen. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says about 1.1 billion people in the world are experiencing water shortage. Their report also states that 2.7 billion people experience this at least one month every single year.
This is a clear indication that the water shortage is a serious problem that impacts about 27% of the population. To get a better understanding of this, it is important for us to know what are the factors that contribute to water shortage and how it can affect people/
Causes of Water Shortage
The majority of water shortage problems that we experience are brought about by pollution. Water pollution occurs when industrial wastes are thrown into water bodies, making it unfit for human consumption. Oil spills and fecal matter contaminate the water making it unsuitable for drinking purposes.
2. Overuse and Wastage
Shortage happens when water is overused. Agriculture poses the greatest threat to sources of freshwater. Farmers use large amounts of water for irrigation purposes. Wastage of water is another cause of water shortage. People often leave their taps running when washing their faces, shaving, brushing or washing fruits and vegetables, water sprinklers are often left open for an entire day. As a result, water supplies become inadequate.
A drought happens when a period of low rainfall leads to water shortage. This results in dried rivers, streams and ponds. People, therefore, will not have enough water for domestic and industrial purposes.
4. Destruction of Water Catchment Areas
Forests are continually being destroyed to build homes and buildings. This is a result of the world’s rapid population growth. When there is not enough rain, water shortage will surely occur.
5. Government Restriction
Some governments have laws restricting citizens from accessing water sources. As a result, the shortage of supplies of water is experienced by their citizens.
There are areas and certain regions where people live far away from the main sources of water. Traveling to fetch water in oasis and boreholes takes a lot of time. It can also be a great burden to carry water from these far places to homes. People get discouraged to go to these sources to fetch water resulting in a water shortage.
Effects of Water Shortage
1. Lack of drinking water
Water is a necessity for all humans. It is very important to our health. When there is a water shortage, people do not have enough clean water for drinking purposes.
Farmers will have difficulty to grow their crops without enough supply of water for irrigation and other agricultural needs. This especially happens in dry areas. When there are not enough crops planted, there won’t be enough food for people.
3. Lack of education
Children are often mandated to give up school so they can help their parents look for water. This is common in areas that lack water supply.
4. Diseases and Parasites
When there is a water shortage, people may not be able to take regular baths. As a result, their bodies will become dirty. They will become prone to infectious diseases and parasites.