The world's supply of fresh water does not change. The same amount exists today as existed millions of years ago. Except now, 7.4 billion people depend on it to live.
The world is facing an unprecedented clean water crisis. There are two primary causes. First, is a lack of supply. Only a finite supply of accessible fresh water exists - less than one percent of global water resources - that is straining to support a growing world population that now exceeds 7.4 billion. Second, is poor resource mismanagement. We are polluting the very lakes, rivers, and underground acquifers that contain virtually all of the fresh water we depend on to live. The gap between water supply and demand is projected to rise to 40% by 2030 at which time one third of the world’s population will be seriously affected by water scarcity.
Scarcity is a World Crisis
The World Economic Forum has listed water scarcity as a top societal risk in each of Global Risk Report for each of the last five years.
The UN and the World Bank have issued a Call to Action on Water, declaring safe drinking water a human right and calling for world leaders to address the issue of water scarcity.
Contamination is Drought
Scarcity arises from insufficient supplies, and from degrading the usability of existing supplies. In the same way that the abundant supplies of ocean water are undrinkable, contamination can make fresh water undrinkable.
What is Day Zero?
Day Zero is the day when a community’s water supplies are so depleted that authorities shut off public supplies to manage distribution of remaining supplies. Cape Town, South Africa is the first major city to be considering such actions. It is not alone, however, as other major cities are facing projected shortages over the next decade. Day Zero can also be triggered by contamination. In the past couple years, U.S. communities have seen numerous instances where drinking water supplies have been shut down due to chemical contamination.
Bottled Water Not a Solution
Consumer concerns about the safety of their drinking water has driven explosive worldwide growth of bottled water sales. In 2017, it is estimated that global consumption of bottled water exceeded 390 billion liters - over 28 liters per person. Bottled water is not a solution. It is merely a re-packing of existing water supplies at significantly marked up values, costing nearly 2,000 times more than tap water.
United States Statistics
Every year, 1.2 trillion gallons of stormwater, industrial runoff wastewater, and sewage is dumped into freshwater sources throughout the United States.
Every year, most of the two billion pounds of pesticides used in the United States end up in fresh water sources.
In 2016, a Harvard study found PFASs, a harmful chemical substance, in water from 33 of the 50 states.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 44 percent of assessed stream miles and 64 percent of lakes in the U.S. are not clean enough for fishing and swimming.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 40 states have at least one region that's expected to face a water shortage in the next 10 years.
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