Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Water, The Next Oil

Water, The Next Oil! 

"I begin with the name of Allah, the most merciful".
Water, or more aptly the lack of it, is the biggest challenge faced by the human race. The foremost necessity of life, the very base of human composition, the basic right of every human being, "water" is not as abundant as once was believed.
To emphasize the direty of the situation at hand let us quickly go through some of the facts at hand.

  • Only 1% of the total water resources on earth are available for human use. While 70% of the world’s surface is covered by water, 97.5% of that is salt water. Of the remaining 2.5% that is freshwater, almost 68.7% is frozen in ice caps and glaciers.

  • Canada controls about 20% of the earth's fresh water.

  • Up to 30% of fresh water supplies are lost due to leakage in developed countries, and in some major cities, losses can run as high as 40% to 70%.

  • About 90% of sewage and 70% of industrial wastes in developing countries are discharged into water courses without treatment, often polluting the usable water supply.

  • A person living in Sub-Saharan Africa uses about 10-20 (2.6-5.26 gallons) litres of water a day; on average, a Canadian uses 326 litres (86 gallons) a day. [Courtesy: The water project]
Well, what the above stats tell me is very straight and simple. Water is scarce. Our treatment in usage of water has caused us to even magnify the effects of this natural scarcity. We have been unimaginative and indifferent to "water" as problem. I have certain arguments to substantiate my interpretation of the problem.
1. It is absolutely true that 1% of water in the world is fit for human use. But the question that I pose is.... When man thought of flying, he knew that he was naturally not equipped for it, when he thought of going to the moon, he knew it was not his place to be, so when man realized that 97.5% of the Earth's water was unfit for him why didn't he make efforts to make it usable. I don't think it was impossible for "mighty man", I just believe we have been careless.
2. We have taken water for granted because we always have thought that air and water are there for ever and would never perish or get scarce. The wastage in developed counties and the pollution in developing countries have brought us to the point where "water" seems to be the next decider in the world power scenario.
3. With Canada having 20% of the water resources, a script is ready for an epic story of exploitation and inequality.
The things that we cannot control are not worthy of a discussion. What we can do and must take up as emergency measures is to conserve. Inability to take this problem seriously might drive us back to dark-ages when a well owner would exploit thousands of Arabs because he had access to water and they didn't.
We should try to limit our usage of water, not because "WE" don't have it but because majority of the people we share this world with are deprived of it. If water flows in your tap, it is a privilege. Remember, "Where you are today, they were. Where they are today you might be tomorrow."

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