It’s the life source of our planet but one of the last things we think about when we jump in the shower or grab a bottle of water. We consume it daily, without blinking an eye, yet less than .5% of our earth’s water is consumable. The strain on freshwater sources is apparent in some areas, while completely unnoticed in larger nations like the US.
The fact that bottled water cost 10000x more than what it costs to drink from a hose is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how skewed our understanding of water is. To make the bottle that holds the water it takes 5 to 11 times more water than what is in the actual bottle. The strain on supply can be overlooked by those with an abundance and if noticed they wouldn’t hesitate to say that the bottled water ‘tasted’ better.
When in reality a bottle of water is not that much different in taste or quality compared to what comes out of the faucet in most homes. This, combined with the realization that we are pumping water faster than it can be replenished makes our obsession with bottled water seem like an insane notion. Water filtration and reverse osmosis have helped conserve some water, and turn previously undrinkable water into a suitable solution but still the love for bottled water continues.
While daily conservation is key, it is not the biggest factor when it comes to where our water goes. The biggest consumer of freshwater is agriculture. Farmers use 80% of the water being pumped and during droughts can reach upwards of 90%. In some US states, agriculture is using 90% while employing only a fraction of the population. This type of imbalance will lead to strain on our ecosystem, economy, and overall well-being, but it may not be felt by nations like the US.
While other nations around the globe are feeling the strain, the US has an abundance to the point that its people will not notice the challenge. This presents a dire situation since the US is sought to lead on major issues. Other nations will face the crisis in the coming years but the change needed to help avoid these situations is not on the horizon.
We could take some cues from science. The International Space Station has figured out a way to reuse 85% of their water. This type of creative solution will need to be rolled out on a grand scale to help reverse the water shortage that will hit countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Parts of Europe.
Maybe NASA and the Space Station are onto something. Maybe it will take mankind traveling away from a desolate planet to help save itself. The colonization of Mars presents a possible solution, though not one that can help in our lifetime. Scientists even think that at around a kilometer below Mar’s surface they can find fresh aquifers to supply water to those living on the surface.
That seems like a drastic measure but unless we start utilizing better technology like filtration and reverse osmosis, it may be the only answer. We will have to wait and see, but we won’t have to wait too long. Scientist predicts that by 2030 there will be major shortages that will cause a lot of stress on the global population. So take some time to think about your choices and maybe, just maybe, we can begin to push that date back.