At this very moment, our world is in the middle of a global water crisis, and we are the ones to blame, however, we can fix our wrongdoings and make our water and our world healthier. This crisis has a crucial effect on all species that live on this planet, that goes for living organisms that live on land, in the sea and in the air. Water has been said to be the source of all life, and the fact that humans can survive for only a week without it can prove that every living thing needs water to continue living. Our actions have caused the downfall of the natural watershed, and has ultimately ravished the ecosystems that our planet has provided for other organisms to live and thrive in. Since we are so dependent on water to live, we should do everything we can to preserve as much clean drinking water as we can. We must keep in mind of the importance of water for our health as a species, growth of our economy, biodiversity, geopolitical security, and having a sustainable food supply.
In Salisbury, Australia, Michelle Wool would spend approximately $1 million Australian dollars per year on water. Since switching to purple pipes, storm water that is brought from storm runoffs and is stored in an underground reservoir and is primarily used for non-essential purposes such as cleaning wool, Michelle Wool payed two-thirds less than what he paid for tap water from Southern Australian Water (Fishman, pg. 115).
Major corporations such as Coca-Cola had realized that water is a limited resource, recognized availability, quality, and sustainability for their company, water faces overexploitation, increasing pollution, poor management, and climate change. Coca- Cola made a switch in 2008 that saved 8 billion gallons of water (Fishman, pg.120). For most people, their water bill is less than their cell phone and electric bills. The citizens of Traverse City, Michigan cancan large containers even for recreational use such as swimming pools for less money than some bottles of alcoholic drinks (Fishman, pg. 266). This puts an emphasis on the fact that we spend more money on alcoholic drinks, such as wine, than we do on a water bill for a month. Water is essentially free; however, we must pay for the cost to transport the water to our homes.
For example, someone pays $40 a month for a water bill that is $480 per year, whereas one electricity bill or phone bill could be one fourth or even one half of the water bill payment. There is nothing unethical about managing water demand with price, and there’s nothing immoral about allowing the market to help allocate water just so long as we solve what might be called the first-class problem so long everyone has their basic needs at the lowest possible cost (Fishman, pg. 275). Without water, our economy would virtually fall apart because all products use some amount of water. On February 2016, scientists at Bennington College ran tests in 5 selected private wells for abnormal levels of PFOA, prior to the discovery of the chemical in Bennington, it was originally found in Hoosick Falls, New York.
If humans consume too much of this chemical, they will be more susceptible to various types of cancers and other harmful diseases such as testicular cancer and thyroid disease. The crisis in India have skyrocketed in frequency and severity. This is caused by various factors like the contaminants of the sewer pipes mixed in with the drinking water in the supply tanks result in the absorption of the contaminants in the drinking water. The contaminants caused the people to worry about their own water storage and become uncertain if their own water storage or even the sanitation status of the water trucks (Fishman, pgs.238-239).
In 2007, Orme, Tennessee suffered a massive drought that caused the waterfall that fed through a creek that goes through the center of the small, rural town that depended on it for drinking water dried out completely. This was a major problem because it left 145 residents out of fresh drinking water from the creek. The Mayor had to establish limitations to the water they used in the storage tanks. The PFOA that was found in the Bennington area, had been estimated to cover a surface area of 120 square miles, to compare it to a major city, Boston is only 90 square miles. All the soil and animals within that area could have spread the contamination to more people from drinking from creeks that were contaminated.
The mayor of Orme, Tony Reams, made a vow to the other 145 residents that he will do everything in his power to give them the water they need (Fox News). There is a common misconception of the conflict between the Israelites and the Palestinians being solely because of religion, a more vital reasoning is the control of the West Bank (Shiva, 72-73). In the late 1980s, the Israelites consumed approximately 67% of its water for irrigation and the rest for the citizens and industry, the massive difference between water usage between both sides is a catalyst for their conflict (Shiva, pg.73). There was more conflict around the Nile River was ultimately between Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt. In late 1950, Egypt established the Aswam Dam and moved one hundred thousand Sudanese from their communities (Shiva, pg. 75).
The Egyptians and Sudanese agreed on sharing the Nile River between themselves, this agreement was called the Full Utilization of the Nile Waters. The conflict ended in 1999 during the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the Nile Basin in Tanzania stating both countries have the same rights to the water of the Nile River (Shiva, pg. 26). Mayor Di, of Toowoomba, Australia, was trying to decide on a plan to end Toowoomba’s drought that has spanned for a decade. Her plan consisted of using recycled water, which is water not suitable for drinking but can be filtered and treated. The only problem with her solution was that she did not explain to the city what her plan was and failed to educate others about it until after she already established the system, this outraged the citizens because they were not prepared for the idea of drinking recycled human waste (Fishman, pg. 151).
Water has a vital role in keeping a good source of food. The farmers in the Murray River outskirts are trying to grow their crops but need access to more water because the water they are using is shared with the city; furthermore, the citizens believe the farmers have way too much water and that they need more water to fulfill their basic needs. The farmer’s misuse of their water along with the misuse of fertilizer has led to increased levels of salt as well as complications with the water, however, the farmers should not have to shoulder the blame by themselves as another factor was the drought known as the Big Dry dried up river beds. The Aral Sea was one of the largest lakes at one point, now it has dried up to about one-third of its original size and is now unfertile because of the lack of fertile soil, and a high concentration of salt in the ground. This has also affected fishing economy of surrounding fishing industry that previously dominated the Aral Sea as they went from catching approximately 25 tons per year to 0 tons per year (Shiva, pg. 112). If we did not have water, there would be no way to sustain a sufficient amount of food.
There are a variety of possible solutions to each crisis that occur around the world. Some examples are; installing and encouraging the use of purple pipe systems as seen in Salisbury, Australia; transporting clean drinking water into the locations that are in need of it as seen in the town of Orme, Tennessee; installing filtration stations along the rivers and lakes of heavily polluted bodies of water like in India, be cautious when or when not to dam a river or create an artificial river, and repairs to broken or damaged pipes to prevent contamination of clean drinking water. These solutions can lead us to a better future and relationship with water because we will be able to reverse the effect of our prior actions that put our world in this unhealthy state.
Our world is full of many resources for us to use, but water is the most abundant and most vital for quality of life. Our global water crisis cannot be solved by one person or even one nation, it must be a collective effort by every living human on the planet. This is necessary to hopefully revert the direction in which the fate of water is at stake. By working together, we can help endangered animals, people in immediate need of water, or help solve the conflict between nations disputing over water. We all must come together as a united world and to accept and acknowledge the fact that our world is dying because of how we treat our most valuable resource, and instead of mistreating water, it would be more proactive to appreciate and respect water.
- Fishman, Charles. The Big Thirst. Free Press. New York, NY. 2011
- Shiva,Vandana. Water Wars. South End Press. Cambridge, MA. 2002
- “Tennessee Town Runs Out of Water in Southeast Drought.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 1 Nov. 2007