Licchavi Lyceum


Licchavi Lyceum

Why is the world today confronted with a crisis of availability of and access to freshwater resources?

Q. Why is the world today confronted with a crisis of availability of and access to freshwater resources?

Ans: The world is facing a crisis of availability and access to freshwater resources due to a combination of natural and human-induced factors. The key contributors to this crisis include:

  1. Population Growth: The global population has been steadily increasing, placing additional pressure on freshwater resources. Growing populations lead to increased water demand for agriculture, industry, and domestic use, straining available water supplies.
  2. Urbanization: Rapid urbanization results in concentrated populations in specific areas, leading to increased water demand for drinking, sanitation, and industrial purposes. Urban areas often face challenges in managing water supply and wastewater treatment.
  3. Climate Change: Climate change is altering precipitation patterns, causing more frequent and severe droughts, floods, and changes in temperature. These changes disrupt water availability, affecting both surface water and groundwater resources. Shifts in precipitation also impact the timing and intensity of monsoons and snowmelt.
  4. Water Pollution: Pollution from industrial discharges, agricultural runoff, and untreated sewage contaminates freshwater sources, making them unsuitable for consumption. Water pollution further reduces the available quantity of clean and safe water for various purposes.
  5. Over-Extraction of Groundwater: Excessive extraction of groundwater for irrigation, industry, and domestic use is depleting aquifers faster than they can naturally recharge. This over-extraction leads to declining water tables and poses a threat to the sustainability of groundwater resources.
  6. Inefficient Water Management: Inefficient and unsustainable water management practices, such as wasteful irrigation techniques and insufficient water conservation measures, contribute to the depletion of water resources. In many cases, water is used in an unsustainable manner, exacerbating scarcity issues.
  7. Water Governance and Infrastructure Challenges: Poor water governance, inadequate infrastructure, and the lack of efficient water management systems hinder the equitable distribution of water resources. Many regions face challenges in developing and maintaining infrastructure for water storage, treatment, and distribution.
  8. Conflict Over Water Resources: Competition for limited water resources can lead to conflicts between different sectors (agriculture, industry, and municipalities) and between countries sharing transboundary rivers. The geopolitical dimension of water scarcity can exacerbate tensions and hinder collaborative solutions.
  9. Ecosystem Degradation: Destruction and degradation of natural ecosystems, such as wetlands and watersheds, disrupt the natural water cycle and reduce the ability of ecosystems to regulate and purify water. Healthy ecosystems are crucial for maintaining water quality and availability.

Addressing the crisis of freshwater availability and access requires a holistic and integrated approach, incorporating sustainable water management practices, improved water infrastructure, conservation measures, and international cooperation to manage shared water resources effectively.