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Thirsty in the Sea

Thirsty in the Sea

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Published by Harshit Shukla

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Published by: Harshit Shukla on Apr 28, 2009
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06/14/2009

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“Thirsty In the Sea”  A World War for Water 
 In the year 1999 and seven months [July] The great King of Terror will come from the sky He will resurrect Ghengis Khan Before and after war rules happily
.
Nostradamians have interpreted this quatrain as his prophecy for the third World War. While the world is still in dilemma over the above interpretation that it actually meant a World War, but situation these days is sure heading us to the doomsday.Figuratively speaking, there is no shortage of water in the world. But this abundancedoes not correspond to the Usable form of water. And although the amount of watersources is limited the consuming population is growing at an alarming rate. Thepopulation of the world 2000 years ago was a mere 3% of what it is today. One doesnot need a management guru to analyse the whole scenario. It’s simple; there islimited amount of ‘Supply’ and a manifold increase in the ‘Demand’. Water covers 73% of the planet but more than 97.5% of the surface water is ocean.This is not useable water due to it being salinated. Desalination of this water is fartoo expensive process for widespread adoption. The fresh water which the world usesrepresents a mere 2.5% of available water. But all of it is also not available. Anamount of 3/4
th
of this fresh water is trapped in the form of snowand ice. So we areleft with a minimal 0.65 of surface water for use. This is the limited amount of ‘supply’ we are having.Now let’s have a look at the ‘demand’. We are more than a six billion inhabitants inthis planet. In which about 12 million people, i.e., 20% of the global populationspread across 40 countries do not have access to safe water. Over the next 20 years,the world's population will increase from the present 6.4 billion to an estimated 7.2 billion whereas the average supply of water per person is expected to fall by 1/3th.Even the available water sources are not that fairly distributed. Women in Asia and Africa walk an average distance of 6km a day to collect water.India too is not helping the cause with its growing population and unmanaged waterresources. In having 1/6
th
of the population of the world we are merely increasing thedemand. Most of the water sources in India are contaminated by sewage andagricultural waste water. Although India has seen progress in the supply of safe waterto its people but this water is largely contaminated. According to a report by the World Bank 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.It makes quite a debatable issue that a country where a major of its populationdepends on agriculture has so little concern to tap the water resources. Governmenthas made water a mere ‘election issue’ than actually dealing with the matter.Indiahas many rivers, especially the Himalayan Rivers which are perennial in nature. Butthe major problem is the inadequate or excessive distribution of water and also thequality of water available. Although the government has launched a National Riverintegration Scheme but its implementation is not that proper. So the problem herelies merely in managing rather in the availability of the resources.
 
The problem isn’t confined to a particular region in the world. Scientist at the UnitedNations Environment Programme (UNEP) have identified water crisis as the secondmost worrying problem of the world after global warming. A large amount of water isused in agriculture. Today one in five people have no access to safe drinking waterand it estimated that by 2020 we shall need 17% more water than currently used. With present conditions it seems a ‘distant dream’.The major causes of this crisis are the growing population of the world, the improperuse of the available water resources and the incessant water pollution. However it’s anotable fact that increasing population is not the only cause for increasing thedemand. It’s been found that there has been a six-fold increase in water use for only atwo-fold increase in population size. With the amount of globalisation being done,the usage of water has increased a lot. Setting up of large industrial plants andagricultural farms has led to an increase in the demand too.Farmers too use water less efficiently. It’s said that China uses 1000 tonnes of waterto produce 1 tonne of wheat. There is a large amount of water being pumped out of the earth for farming use. Many water reservoirs are suffering reduction in storagecapacity due to sedimentation caused by deforestation. The fresh water reserves arealso being contaminated.This entire crisis for water can well become the cause of the next World War. Theprevious two wars may have been fought for land and power but water could surely  be the cause of the next one. Nowadays when most of the nations have becomenuclear power one could only imagine the amount of destruction this war couldcause. Just imagine a war situation where countries are fighting over every available water body and each drop of water is being paid for by a drop of blood. Even insidethe countries there is are civil wars for water. Among this entire crisis going on, if nuclear weapons are used then world soon could be vaporised within minutes. This would end it all. Prophecy would certainly become true.The need of the hour is to form an international agreement over the properutilization of water. Although many nation are sharing their water resources throughinternational treaties but still more such concrete steps should be taken. Propercanalization of the rivers should be done to effectively use the available water.Government should look into the matter and make proper water utilization schemes.Rain water harvesting could provide a vital solution to the regular water usage crisis.It’s time for a collective effort by the people of the world.
 Each drop of water saved today could well be a thousand lives saved tomorrow.” 

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