Our Planets Disappearing Drinking Water
Scarce Drinking Water
Do you take your drinking water for granted? Water companies deliver it daily. It's inexpensive and readily available - but for how long?
97% of world's water is not drinkable!
How much have you ever thought about water? We take it for granted every day, assuming it will always be there when we need it. Did you know that most of the world’s surface water is locked up in the oceans as salt water? 97% of our surface water source! Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater. As the Earth’s population continues to grow and expand the search for freshwater sources is ongoing whether existing, recycled or desalinated.
Elakala Waterfalls Swirling Pool, Blackwater State Park, West Virginia, USA
Mega cities could affect our water future
Beautiful waterfalls one day may cease to exist because of unforeseen climate changes or worse, the encroachment of mankind in the form of mega cities, greedy for water sources.
By estimation, it is considered that by 2025 over half of the world’s countries, mostly developing ones, will be vulnerable for a water crisis.
Beautiful Smoo Cave Waterfall, Scotland
Nonprofit groups help provide safe drinking water worldwide
Fortunately, there are organizations like WaterPartners International which is a nonprofit group from the USA. They are committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation in these developing countries. Former American President Bill Clinton is involved working to bring donors and local communities together to achieve this goal.
State of Washington, USA
Over a billion people are in peril
In America we have already witnessed decades of increasing drought for the West coast, notably beautiful California. Excessively dry conditions have lead to severe wildfires, endangering the large city populations. Part of the East Coast, whole lakes evaporated to bone dry, is now trucking in drinking water to metro areas like Atlanta, Georgia, once lush only two decades ago. Life is changing for millions.
Almost 20% of the world’s population lacks access to safe drinking water. That’s about 1.2 billion people are in peril, according to The United Nations estimates.
Agriculture consumes most of our drinking water
In today’s modern economy, agriculture consumes about 70% of our precious freshwater resources. How is that so? Freshwater is used as a solvent for many chemical substances and also facilitates industrial cooling and transportation.
Niagara Falls at night, New York, USA
What happens as the glaciers melt?
The freshwater on Earth is only 3%. Did you know that about two-thirds of that 3% is frozen into the North and South polar icecaps and many glaciers? With those ice caps now melting and dissolving into the salty oceans, how much further does that reduce that percentage? Much of the freshwater is underground. Only 0.3% is surface water in the form of naturally occurring lakes and ponds as well as man-made canals, ditches and reservoirs! The numbers keep getting smaller and smaller and yet societies planet-wide continue to take water for granted.
City water geysers - state of Pennsylvania, USA
Where is most of the world's drinking water located?
Did you know that the Great Lakes in the Midwest region of America and LakeBaikal in Siberian Russia, the world’s deepest lake, contain seven-eighths of the surface freshwater in the world?
Waterfall Palenque, Mexico
Lake Baikal, Russia called "Living Water."
The waters of Lake Baikal have long been considered both medicinal and spiritual, called “living water.” The lower depths of all the other deep lakes in the world are dead because they are asphyxiated by gases. Yet the wonderment is that Lake Baikal’s depths are literally blanketed in fresh oxygen.
There are thermal springs coming up from the bottom of the lake bed. Scientists speculate that the release of hot, oxygenated water from those underwater vents may explain why the water is not dead at the deepest depths like in other lakes. The past five years they have discovered the water from the underwater vents is mixed by two horizontal currents as well as the rising and falling of additional vertical currents so that aquatic life can thrive in the deep.
The famous Lake Baikal
Russia’s Endangered Lake Baikal
Here’s an informative and interesting short video about the largest freshwater lake in the world and how global warming and industry toxins are affecting it.
Scientist discusses Lake Baikal
Scott Falls, Michigan, USA
Ongoing struggle of poverty and water
While desalination is available as a technology to change salty ocean water into freshwater, it is currently an expensive solution. Why? It generally involves an expensive and specialized infrastructure, unattainable by the poorest countries. It also requires large amounts of energy to produce - either using fossil fuels or nuclear energy - which is far more expensive in comparison to freshwater supplied from rivers and lakes.
State of New York, USA
Nuclear reactors and desalination plants
Russia, India and Japan already have nuclear reactors in use, linked to desalination plants, to create drinkable water. Japan alone has eight such sites. Though perhaps controversial in parts of the world there are those proponents that argue nuclear energy can produce large amounts of drinkable water and then transport it inland for hundreds of miles by pipeline.
Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland
Where is the world's largest desalination plant?
The world’s largest desalination plant is located in The United Arab Emirates. It can produce about 2500 gallons of water per second.
The largest desalination plant in the United States, located in Florida, only produces on the level of 12% output of the world’s largest one, desalinating about 25 million gallons of water per day since 2007.
Worldwide there are just over 13,000 desalination plants. They collectively produce more than 12 billion gallons of water a day.
State of Oregon, USA
Science, politics, water and you
Not to be overlooked is the highly concentrated waste product from this process to produce good water, usually called brine, as it is classified as industrial waste. Usually, at a coastal plant it is disposed of back into the ocean - provided it does not exceed the ocean’s natural salinity. The problem arises when the salinity is well above what the ocean can accept as it can kill filter-feeding animals.
It is an even greater issue when further inland and disposal into existing freshwater supplies from aquifers, rivers and ponds would be ruined. Currently, the general practice is to dilute the concentrate with another stream such as the outfall of a wastewater treatment plant or power plant that empties into the ocean. Scientists are continuing efforts to research improved solutions.
No matter what country we live in, our jobs, our income, our lifestyle, our religion or our politics, water will continue to be a valuable resource. Do what you can to protect your local water resource, monitoring and improving your local standards to insure everyone’s health.
Bond Falls, Michigan, USA
Water is humanity's common heritage
Do what you can to support good water usage and promote awareness of this precious resource so that abundant water remains for us and the generations to come. Humanity shares one thing common to us all: water!
Our water is precious!
Join me over at my general musings, humor and poetry blog: The Social Poets
Comments are always welcome! 37 comments
Canadian forest and lake - Photo by Yogi @ flickr
Elakala Waterfalls Swirling Pool, Blackwater State Park, West Virginia, USA - Photo by forestgladesiwander @ flickr
Smoo Cave Waterfall, Scotland - Photo by subflex @ flickr
Water droplets closeup on autumn leaves - Photo by skedunk @ flickr
Wicklow Waterfall - Photo by Tambako the Jaguar @ flickr
Niagara Falls at night - Photo by bgilliard @ flickr
City water geysers - Photo by daveynin @ flickr
Waterfall Palenque, Mexico - Photo by zoutedrop @ flickr
Lake Baikal - Photo from Wikipedia
Scott Falls, Michigan - Photo by light2shine @ flickr
Crimson water reflections, New York - Photo by Lida Rose @ flickr
Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland - Photo by o palsson @ flickr
Autumn water droplets, Oregon - Photo by TheMunkyHouse @ flickr
Bond Falls waterfall, Michigan - Photo by stott68 @ flickr
Dripping water faucet against red ground - Photo by Randy Son Of Robert @ flickr
More by this Author
Have you ever wondered about the origins of odd sayings? Check out the tattooed Viking blacksmith photo! By Denny Lyon When asked, Americans exhibit the same difficulty and start scratching their collective head...
Photo by allygirl520 @ flickr How well do you know your coffee trivia? Bet there are a few here to keep you entertained for more than a nanosecond. Awesome coffee photos. 1 - The famous writer and French...