Edukemy Gazette

Rising Concerns over Freshwater Shortages

Rising Concerns over Freshwater Shortages

In News: A global study published by GlobeScan and released by an NGO Circle of Blue, which enumerated 30,000 people from 31 countries to analyse attitudes to water shortages, showed that 58% of people were seriously concerned about freshwater shortages.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • Increase in concern: Concerns about freshwater shortages have increased from 49% in 2014 to 61% in 2022. Fears about climate change have also increased from 45% in 2014 to 65% in 2022.
  • Differential Perception: People in Argentina, Vietnam, Colombia, Germany and Peru reported largest increases in concerns about water shortages whereas people in China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea did not consider freshwater shortages a “very serious” issue.
  • Extent of impact: 30% of people globally claimed to have been “greatly” personally affected by freshwater shortages, while a global majority (56 per cent) feel moderately personally affected.
  • Rural urban divide: Globally, people in urban areas (32%) are more likely to be greatly affected by a lack of freshwater than those in rural (28%) or towns and suburban areas (26%).
  • Significance of the report: A rare convergence between public opinion and ground realities of freshwater availability challenges provides an opportunity for governments and NGOs to help sensitise people and businesses and look for sustainable alternatives.

Reasons for Freshwater crisis:

  • Population growth: Human population has doubled in past 50 years, putting pressure on the already limited freshwater resources (2.5% of earth’s water).
  • Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater, but some 60% of this is wasted due to leaky irrigation systems, inefficient application methods and cultivation of water guzzling crops.
  • Pollution: affects the available freshwater resources. Its sources are pesticides & fertilisers washed away from farms, untreated human wastewater, and industrial waste etc. Groundwater is polluted through leaching of chemicals in underground aquifers.
  • Inequity in access of freshwater where a majority of poor people are able to access only a small share of freshwater resources.
  • Climate Change: The rising temperatures have reduced water levels in many rivers. It has further made the rainfall erratic in nature making rain-fed agriculture unviable.
  • Lack of water data: There is limited data collection over availability of water. Furthermore, lack of regional, seasonal and per capita data on water availability hinders effective policy formulation to tackle the water crises.

Measures to ensure tackle water crisis:

  • Identifying new water resources and improving the efficiency of water resources
  • Planning for urban scarcity by identifying available resources to reduce the risk of cities running out of water.
  • Changing behaviours and sensitising masses about the value of water and the importance of its protection.
  • Planning national water needs by working with key stakeholders at national and sub-national levels to understand the water requirements for domestic use and for health and sanitation.



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