There are issues concerning the adequacy of water resources to support human settlements. There are rampant safety, sanitation and accessibility issues in water supply systems in many countries. These water supply problems are a result of various influences, such as the pattern of human settlement and urbanization. Technology adoption and political commitment also determine the likelihood and duration of these problems.
P truscott phd thesis conditions highlight the need for better policies and programs to ensure a clean, safe, adequate, and accessible water supply. This article examines the global water supply situation in terms of population growth and related problems, impact of human activity on the water cycle, public health issues, and drinking water shortage.
Developing programs for adequate water supply requires understanding the role population growth plays in water supply problems. In influencing water supply problems, population growth has the role of determining the demand for water and water consumption. As population grows, the demand for water also grows.
In the United States, urban and industrial centers have the highest demand for water.
These areas are also the ones most at risk of water shortage. In China, Beijing is experiencing rapid increase in demand for water because of high population growth, especially due to internal migration. Thus, as population grows, the demand on the water supply increases.
This condition leads to shortages of water supply. Human activity affects the water cycle. Three ways humans negatively impact the water cycle are as follows:.
Increasing Consumption. The increasing consumption of water comes with increasing population.
This means that more water is drawn from bodies of freshwater to support the water needs of the population. As a result, less water becomes available for animals and plants. Humans reduce the natural water supply or transport water to other places.
Diversions and Massive Changes. Dams, hydroelectric power plants, and the rerouting of rivers and waterways lead to significant changes in the water cycle because the natural route of water is disturbed. These hsc legal studies world order essay lead to water supply issues and disruption of the water cycle.
Water Pollution. Water pollution is a significant factor that affects water supply and the water cycle. Water pollution leads to changes in the composition of water. Solutes and contaminants lead to changes in the characteristics of water, such as its boiling point.
These changes disrupt the water supply for animals and plants. Human consumption of water for drinking, irrigation, sanitation and other uses can also disrupt the water cycle. Water affects public health. The condition and quality of the water supply is a major factor in sanitation and disease control. Worldwide public health concerns related to fresh drinking water are as follows:.
Safety is always a concern when it comes to fresh drinking water supply. However, not all freshwater can be used for drinking. Some freshwater sources contain substances that are harmful to humans. Also, when animals are allowed to wade in water, they disturb the river bed and the water becomes dirty. They absorb and store large quantities of water after it has rained, and then slowly feed the ground water and streams during drier times. By changing the course of rivers through the building of farm dams and channels or by interfering with the ecology of the wetlands, these important areas can dry up.
This means fewer and fewer wetlands are left to act as natural filters and sponges for river water. Planting of exotic trees in large numbers can be a drain on the water supplies in the area. Pine trees, for example, can each absorb about litres of water a day. Therefore, planting forests near wetlands and streams can result in the water flow being restricted and eventually drying up.
Rubbish like plastic bags, bottles, paper and tins which are carelessly thrown on the ground in the city or in the country can cause pollution of the rivers. Rubbish is blown by the wind into the river or it is washed down storm-water drains and into the rivers. Pouring oil from motor cars or cooking oil into the drain causes serious problems in the rivers and at the water purification works.
Chemicals, medicines and oil should never be flushed down the toilet or poured down the sink or drain, as they contaminate the water and make it costlier to treat. These products should be taken to a depot which can dispose of them in the correct way.
Some industries have been given permission to discharge their effluent into nearby streams. Umgeni Water first tests the effluent to ensure that it will not damage the environment. However, there are some industries which do not adhere to the standards set or which have not obtained permission to discharge into the river.
A number of forces continue check my dissertation seriously affect our natural water resources. Many of these are primarily the result of human actions and include ecosystem and landscape changessedimentation, pollution, over-abstraction and climate change.
The removal, destruction or impairment of natural ecosystems are among the greatest causes of critical impacts on the sustainability of our natural water resources.
This the impact of human activities on water supplies is dealt with more broadly in Chapter 5. However, it should be emphasized that the ecosystems with which we interact are directly linked to the well-being of our natural water resources. Although it is difficult to integrate the intricacies of ecosystems into traditional and more hydrologically-based water assessment and management processes, this approach is being strongly advocated in some sectors and scientific domains e.
The basis of this approach is the recognition that each type of landscape change will have its own specific impact, usually directly on ecosystems and directly or indirectly on water resources.