Water is a precious resource and the true basis of life. Less than 1% of the Earth’s water is drinkable and today, we are facing a serious problem of water scarcity. By 2050, the global population is estimated to reach 10 billion people and the water and food (which requires water) needed to support the population growth is extensive. Unfortunately, if consumption patterns and the current issue of water scarcity remain as they are, we will not be able to meet the demand.
Water needs to be saved for a number of reasons, from health to crops to sanitation. Water scarcity is a serious problem affecting our planet and action needs to be taken. All around the world countries are taking measures to find water scarcity solutions to meet local and global demand and working to efficiently use this precious resource.
At a meeting of the High-Level Panel on Water, Miroslav Lajčák, the president of the general assembly of the United Nations, explained,
“Scarcity of water – exacerbated by climate change or humanitarian disasters – can cause tensions between people, communities, and countries. As we have seen, these tensions can quickly escalate into violence.”
Water and sanitation for all are one of the goals set under the High-Level Panel on Water’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has been declared the International Decade of Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”. Amongst the solutions from around the world are the approaches in Tajikistan and Las Vegas.
Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon highlighted that international cooperation is needed in the management of the water at the U.N. general assembly. Water scarcity is a major issue in Tajikistan and Central Asia, where temperatures have increased by almost 2 °C since the beginning of the 20th century, rain patterns have shifted and ultimately, water availability has been affected.
For Tajikistan, the two key sources of water come from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers, which flow into the Aral Sea and are fed by the glaciers in the region. They have about 77 cubic kilometres of water. Irrigation is the main use for the water derived from these rivers and if water is dropped due to global warming, the region will be greatly affected. The solution to this rising issue is the Rogun Dam, which has a clay core and is being built on the Vaksh River.
Las Vegas has 2.2 million residents and water will certainly be an issue in the future. The landscape is barren, the suburbs are extending, and although the Southern Nevada Water Authority has encouraged landscaping efforts and such, water conservation may not be enough under current circumstances.
There is a tunnel under Lake Mead being excavated where water will be drawn from a pipe. The extracted water will be treated and then go to the city of Las Vegas. During a drought, the surface of the lake does go down so by taking the water from the bottom of the lake, the city does not risk a water shortage.
It is crucial to start acting now and take the issue of water scarcity seriously. Measures need to be taken now so that the stress on the earth is not irreversible, circumstances get more extreme yet we can’t meet new demands, and even more people are affected by water scarcity. This is a self-inflicted issue and will become a greater one if action is not taken. Thankfully, it is entirely avoidable. So it is time to act now.