Last updated on October 14, 2018
There is high demand for water by the world’s busiest areas such as agriculture, industries and even at homes. Most unfortunate, the effects of climate change which has fuelled the water scarcity issue. Even though, innovative solutions and conservative measures have been implemented in some cases to lessen the water scarcity. In such cases like Cape Town in South Africa that rose partially out of water crisis with the help of the strict measures and regulations over the use of water in the city. The pattern South African government applied to manage to restore water management sense to the most populated city in South Africa is laudable even though it was sort of late. The Day Zero announced by the government as the days the taps will be turned off due to the low level of the dam and the only option to get water is through the community water collection points. the campaign worked even before it ever happened – it installed awareness on Cape Town to save and use water properly. Though not fully solved; two lessons were learnt; mismanagement of water resources and a late response to water issue may lead to a total dry-out of water resources in years to come.
To solve the water problem, the idea of irrigation pumps that use renewable energy is welcomed in the developing countries. Some notable private industries are on massive production and distribution of irrigation pumps and in ways, subsidized the price for local farmers. Some rural farmers have access to the services of the irrigation pump machines but more effort has to be put in place – especially now agriculture suffers intense rainfall and severe droughts due to climate change.
Though, climate change is contributory to water scarcity – the water issue can also be as a result of water pollution. Agriculture, factories and fuel emissions are major causes of water population in the developed countries. Pesticides and chemicals used in the regular agricultural exercises pollute the groundwater and surface water. Freshwater is endangered by the dumps of wastewater from industrial processes. Report has it that 70 percent of industrial waste are dumped into water contaminating the usable water supply.
In developing countries, few sewage or septic systems are available. Less than one in three people in Sub Saharan Africa have access to a proper toilet. Therefore, waste products are most likely to be discharged in bushes, roadsides and by the rivers or streams. In the middle of 2018 in Nigeria, at least over 1000 persons were reported to have contracted Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) in Borno state. The related water-borne diseases like diarrhoea are caused by open defecation and poor sanitary conditions. Globally, about 3.4 million people die every year as a result of water-related diseases – making it the leading world’s killer and 80 per cent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
Water pollution and water scarcity are interconnected – where there is a shortage of water is likely that usable water is contaminated. On the other hand, where usable water is polluted, there is an unexpected drop in available safe water.
Converting wastewater into water to be reused for other purposes such as irrigation, toilet flushing and laundry becomes necessary. This method can solve the water shortage caused by climate change and the overuse of water resources. Israel recycles 80% of the sewage mostly for irrigation. Reused water can also be treated to the utmost standard of drinking water. The use of reused water for drinking is less common though it undergoes extensive purification. In Namibia, treated wastewater is sometimes reused as drinking water but most developing countries hardly trust the recycled water for drinking water.
Moreover, recycling landfills that contain toxic materials before they find their way down into the groundwater can also prevent water pollution. Germany, Austria and South Korea recycle between 52% to 56% of their municipal waste though sadly, the developing countries lack resources to recycle their waste. Recycling faces a huge challenge in developing countries, particularly the rural areas. The urban centres occasionally enjoy municipal waste collections but not at the rural areas where residents rely on dumping or burning their garbage even near the rivers and streams.
As population grows rapidly in Africa and Asia, waste crisis might just be a huge problem and would need sustainable solutions. Though there are some headways in grafting different waste disposal methods, recycling waste serves as the healthiest and most productive. It transforms waste into products. Plastics. glass and other solid waste materials can be recycled and the processes involved are environment-friendly but the machines are expensive to buy and maintain. Another system for waste disposal – decomposition of organic waste by microbes may be nutrient-rich to the soil but its processes are slow and can demand a big amount of land.
Developing countries must create policies to control activities on waste disposal and sanitation generally. Door to Door campaigns on waste management must be promoted in the cities and villages. Also, adjusting to waste recycling is recommendable. Though expensive, it should also be seen as a venture for the growth of a green economy. In 2014, the recycling industry in the US generated over 236 billion in Gross Annual Revenues. Recycling should not be just for the business but for the sakes of the environment and water resources.
With time, developing countries will decide that recycling of wastewater and waste products are indispensable in combating the climate shocks. Recycling can be the key to solving water shortage and water pollution.