A major sustainer of life, water has long been quoted as being the cause of the world's severest health problems. Waterborne illnesses and the absence of clean domestic water are identified as the major source of death globally. Of almost one-fifth of the world's population, it is said that just under a billion people lack safe drinking water.
In 2002 the world's population was 6.2 billion. This is anticipated to rise to 7.2 billion people by 2015. 70 percent of the planet's surface is covered by water, but 97.5 percent is salt water. Approximately 70 percent of all freshwater is used in irrigation for agriculture. 60 percent of this is lost to evaporation, or returned to rivers and groundwater aquifers.
The shortage of safe drinking water is not simply a problem for lesser-developed countries. Water is quickly turning into one of the world's largest headaches in urban areas in developed countries, creating everything from severe financial consequences to legal battles. Some authorities say that global wars will be fought over water rights, when need-basis opposes right-basis.
The Food and Agriculture Organization in 2003 alleged there was no water crisis. A United Nations report in 2006 claimed there was enough water for everybody. ‘Water insufficiency is often due to mismanagement, corruption, lack of appropriate institutions, bureaucratic inertia and a shortage of investment in both human capacity and physical infrastructure', said the report.
By 2025 it is estimated that around 5.5 billion people will live in areas facing moderate to severe water stress.
Ceres, an environmental research and sustainability group, 24/7 Wall St, and the National Resources Defense Council declare that 10 of America's biggest cities are in severe danger of water shortages in the relatively near future.
The top three cities in danger are:
Via hundreds of miles of aqueducts, the fastest growing city in the Unites States, Los Angeles relies on bringing in water from the Colorado River.
Houston, Texas, located in a high drought area, draws its municipal water from nearby Lake Houston and Lake Conroe. It is rated The Texan City of San Antonio as being in immediate danger for serious water shortages.
The Texan City of San Antonio has been awarded the highest rating by the National Resources Defense Council as having a non-sustainable water supply.
The recent spate of Australian drought and severe water shortages has pushed the national agenda to look at a national population policy that will comprise issues such as new dams, a very costly desalination plants and even recycled water.
Next time you drink a glass of water give it a second thought, as water could quickly become the centre of right-based and need-based battles around the world.