Note: This post is being published now, in an incomplete state, because I wanted to make it known that I am still working on this project while at the same time looking for a new dwelling place as a result of change of ownership of my current rental home as addressed in this post. This is an unsettling time for thinking about larger issues but I will continue to add to this work as and when I can.
I have adopted a new form for the title of this series of posts, changing from ‘A Challenge’ to ‘Solutions’ since I failed to meet my own expectations of the challenge. I have also updated the title of the previous post to suit the new format.
If you wish to start at the beginning of this series, go here.
I started with a solution to a simple need in the previous post and then considered what to do next. My thoughts were developing along lines that there is a need to provide, in these early stages, some indication of the intended scope of the type of solutions that I will be examining here. So, from simple needs we go to a basic but very important necessity for human existence – Water. This is a huge subject and discussing potential problems and solutions may very well spread over a number of posts if we are to do any justice by it.
Water – A Need Becomes A Problem
This will be a focussed discussion about perceived problems around the ecological and social need for water. Just that. We will afterwards look at potential solutions to specific needs. For any other information about water, there is an excellent Wikipedia article on the subject.
Water? A problem? Martians would wish for our problems. We are surrounded by the stuff. But in the right condition/form? At the right location? At seasonally the right times of the year? With sufficient purity for intended use? In sufficient amounts, manageable quantities and reliable deliveries? These are the problems we have in relation to water.
At least those are the problems that much of the world’s population has with regard to their water supply, while those of us fortunate enough to live in a highly developed nation may not quite see it that way just yet. We may be lucky enough to be able to turn on a tap (water faucet) conveniently placed in a number of rooms around our dwelling place and even freely available in public places around the town/city in which we reside. Water problems? What water problems? Even being so blessed, many of us still desire or find convenience in being able to buy a plastic bottle of drinkable water from any of numerous retail outlets in the area where we live and work. We are even willing to pay several thousand times more for that privilege than we would have if we simply obtained the same amount of water from a tap.
At some stage, whether we are prepared for it or not, that ubiquitous availability of water will be drying up or becoming very costly for even the most advantaged of us. Why?
It is said that only around 3% of all water on this planet is fresh water, the remainder being the salt water which is mainly found in the world’s oceans. I do not know if that 3% freshwater is likely to vary over time but I doubt it and this work is not intended to be a study in such matters. What is important is the question as to whether such fresh water as there is will be available in the quantities and places where it is needed. Two valid factors appear to be at play here.
Drought, whether induced by climate change or not, appears to be both spreading in it’s scope and increasing in it’s frequency over recent years, affecting both food production and water storage.
Population Growth means that the area of land required to support human existence is always increasing, often intruding into places to the detriment of other aspects of that support. This also has a diminishing effect on the per person share of available water.
There are other relevant factors to this equation also of course like the quality of the water supply and the costs of bringing that to levels acceptable for purpose. All of these things together represent a considerable issue both for future planning and for the very continuance of human society.
With water being one of the most basic requirements for human and most other life, this is likely to become a huge issue before, excuse the pun, very much more water has flown under the world’s bridges.