Updated: Apr 18
Water pollution, overuse of water, increased demand for water, climate changes, mismanagement of water resources, and poverty cause a lack of clean water.
When you have regular access to fresh water, you may not consider water scarcity a problem, so you may take it for granted, but sadly not everyone has the same privilege.
In some parts of the world, people, especially women and children, have to walk miles to get access to water. Sometimes, the water may not even be clean enough for drinking and cooking.
Meanwhile, the water crisis is beginning to spread and is more significant than you might realize. According to a 2013 report by the Global Water Institute, 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2025.
In addition, many American households are currently facing a major water crisis as they cannot afford the water utility bills.
Water Scarcity is used to describe the reduction in the availability of freshwater when needed. It is when the lack of clean water resources fail to meet the standard water demand. It occurs due to a physical shortage of water or lack of proper water supply caused by economic factors. There are also individual human habits that often contribute to a lack of clean water access.
In this article, we highlight some of the factors that lead to the scarcity of freshwater. You will also learn more about how to improve your water use. Read on!
1. Water pollution
One of the significant causes of water shortage is water pollution. It refers to the contamination of water by substances that makes it unsafe for human use. Many contaminants such as toxic waste, petroleum, and microorganisms can corrupt the body of water due to human activities. It can also permanently damage the available water resources.
Generally, industrial waste is one of the most significant contributors to water pollution. In oil drilling operations, there are usually accidental spills or leaks of oil into the water.
Many sea animals have become extinct as a result of contaminated ocean water. It has also caused the degradation of some water resources.
In addition, fecal waste is a common source of water pollution. Many rural areas lack proper sanitation and waste management systems. So the waste often ends up in rivers, streams, or any flowing water, which pollutes the water.
You can also cause water pollution in your regular daily routine. While washing machines help to make doing laundry easier, they also have negative impacts on the environment. The wastewater contains microfibers and volatile organic substances that pollute water bodies.
Through water treatment, you can clean polluted water to make it fit for use. However, it is quite expensive. But you can avoid activities that lead to water pollution, like littering water bodies with refuse, excrement, or anything that can contaminate water.
2. Overuse of water
When you have regular and constant access to clean water, there is a tendency to overuse it. Unsustainable water use can lead to clean water scarcity, especially when we can’t replenish the water resources. It can also cause famine and harm the aquatic ecosystem.
Besides commercial usage, water waste is prevalent in many households, and you might not even be aware of it. Whether cleaning, bathing, cooking, swimming, we use water for almost every activity.
Most bathrooms are unsustainable, which often results in excess use of water. For instance, many older models of toilets can use up to 6 gallons of water per flush.
Meanwhile, you only need about 1.6 gallons of water for a single flush. So most of the water used to flush will only waste. You can get a water-efficient toilet to save more water.
You can also misuse water by taking too long showers. While you can reduce your shower duration, you can also opt for a water-conserving showerhead. You can also practice brushing your teeth without running the tap to save water.
It is important to keep in mind that you're limiting another person's access to water when you overuse water. So you need to ensure that you make efforts to conserve water resources.