Water may be the most abundant thing on earth, but 99% of it is saltwater that is unsuitable for human consumption and use. Two thirds of the remaining one percent is locked up in the polar ice caps and glazers. So, only one third of one percent of the total of world’s water is shared between human and other organisms.
Water management has become a top priority in UN agenda. The United Nations estimated that 30% of the world population in 50 countries will face water shortages by 2025. According to the World Water Organization, as many as 135 million people may die from water-related diseases by 2020 if no action is taken to meet basic water needs.
Water scarcity is becoming a major issues in the world politics. Water is now considered as “oil” of the next century and people are starting to think wars will be fought for the possession of water. Unlike other resources, water is very easily contaminated. It can flow from places thousands of miles apart. Countries have borders, but water can flow from one country to another. Currently, China is having major issues with other South Eash Asian countries for damming Mekong river. The water rights are very hard to regulate, and the question of who possess what amount of water is up for debate.
Water has also become a serious issue in the United States. Because of overconsumption, Colorado river no longer regularly reach to the sea. This is a big issue because the river serves 30 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, with 70 percent or more of its water siphoned off to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland. The loss of a crucial natural resource of this scale is going to have huge impact on the US economy and the lives of millions of people who rely on the river.
In Pennsylvania, we are also facing a similar problem. Agricultural run offs, and toxic chemical wastes from industrial plants are contaminating Susquehanna river. We are drinking the water from the river. So, we should be responsible for saving some water in our daily activities to make sure it is still available to people downstream.
In my opinion, water should be a right, not a privilege. We still like to think water is abundant and easily accessible, and available to everyone. But there isn’t much water left in the world with the current rate of unsustainable consumption. If we don’t do anything about it, the world that we know will be gone. And it will be sooner rather than later!