18 March 2014

Fresh Water Scarcity

Alvin Chien writes:*

In many ares of the world fresh water is scarce. Smart water management can help preserve this resource, and reduce the costs of treating or importing water. What are the causes of water scarcity? Water scarcity is caused by environmental and human factors. In hot dry climates, such as deserts, there is a general lack of fresh water sources. Some areas also experience temporary or seasonal droughts that limit the amount of available fresh water. The state of California in the U.S., for example is currently experiencing a severe drought.

Human factors also contribute to scarcity. Water is used for irrigation, as well as many other purposes like drinking, cleaning and washing. How people collect and recycle water also has an impact on the amount of fresh water available for various uses. Fresh water scarcity can have severe effects. Crops can die, and people can go hungry or suffer serious health problems from the resulting lack of food and drinking water. Water scarcity affects every part of an ecosystem, including all plants and animals.

Bottom Line: Proper water management is therefore very important. Water management solutions include collection and storage, rationing, water treatment centers, and even importing/exporting. Applying these solutions effectively means that water can be shared between places that have lots and those that do not have enough, and conserved in places where scarcity exists.

* These guest posts are from students in my resource economics class at Simon Fraser University. Please leave feedback on their logic, ideas and style and suggestions of how to improve.

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