Understanding the value of sustainable water
The importance of water
Do you ever consider where the water that we use every day comes from? The Earth is covered with water, making up 70% of the planet’s surface area. However, not all of this water can be used to meet our needs. A staggering 97% of Earth’s water is found in its seas and oceans, and of the 3% that remains, more than two thirds is found in glaciers and ice-caps, and almost a third is underground. Little over 1% of the world’s freshwater is easily accessible..
Water is essential for the survival of our bodies and the ecosystems around us. Water is used in agriculture, industry, energy production, as well as domestically for our own consumption and sanitation. A large majority of the human body is made up of water, making it a vital nutrient to facilitate our functioning of our bodies. Roughly two thirds of this water is found within our cells, and most of the remaining third is in our bloodstream in the form of plasma. Water has an endless importance to enable our planet to be our home; making it an element that we simply cannot live without.
How is fresh water sourced?
The majority of the water we use comes from surface water or groundwater. Surface water includes our rivers and springs, whereas groundwater is found underground in layers of soil and rock, pumped up out from aquifers. In recent years, the world’s population has grown rapidly, This has increased demand for energy and resources – such as water supplies. The demand for fresh water has risen immensely as populations around the world have increased. With more people in the world there is a greater need for agriculture to grow more food, domestic water for health and sanitation, and a higher water withdrawal for energy consumption. However, continued rates of use will lead to both groundwater and surface water being depleted, with more water being used than replenished. This threat is set to worsen over the coming decades, with global water demand projected to rise by a total of 55% between 2000 to 2050. Currently, this water demand is unsustainable and could result in catastrophic outcomes for all nations.
The current strain on freshwater supplies
There are issues with unsustainable water-sourcing in most countries in the world. There are water crises in poorer countries, where accessing freshwater has been an ongoing challenge for decades. Many poorer countries lack the basic provision of fresh water and require urgent technological solutions. Meanwhile, developed countries have continued to exploit water supplies with little thought of the future. Developing sustainable water systems will help address dilemmas for all nations, by employing more efficient water treatment and using renewable energy.
As well as an increased demand affecting water supplies, there is also the issue of climate change. Our energy consumption has led to increased pollution; which affects water quality directly, as well as disrupting the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists have increasingly warned of the effects of climate change, with temperatures and rainfall becoming more unpredictable in more and more areas across the world, including the UK. The average global temperature has been rising steadily, which could further disrupt the water cycle in regions of the world already facing immense water poverty. It could also affect the quality of groundwater in many areas, which would require more intensive water-treatment efforts.
What difference does sustainability make?
Sustainability is the ability to meet a particular need, without negatively affecting the planet or the ability of future generations to also meet that need. In the case of a freshwater supply, sustainability means preserving resources by using greener water treatment methods, as well as industries working together to effectively manage the water they use. By introducing more sustainable water systems, the supply of water will remain consistent and work better in situations of the climate crisis – including both drought and flooding. There are ways to improve water sustainability in all nations in the world through water reuse, renewable energy, managing excess water, improvements in water treatment, and water-use efficiency.
Incorporating greener methods will also mean there will be less energy wasted, less pollution, and less waste from treating water. It is easy to neglect the issue of sustainability, especially from a place of privilege. Most countries already have fresh water that is readily available for all of our needs, but the systems used to treat water will not be fit for purpose in years to come. We need to sustain our planet to ensure that future generations can live with the natural resources they need to maintain a high-quality life. Although some may argue that our industrial revolution has damaged the planet in many ways, it is a tool that can solve our current sustainability issues. Innovative technological advancements have developed new methods of using natural resources responsibly – that can be maintained for many generations to come.
At Portsmouth Aqua we have used groundbreaking technology and expertise to create a water treatment solution to provide fresh water to almost any community, sustainably!