Declining Freshwater Resources

Published: 24 Jul 2008

Freshwater availability is being challenged - as the world is experiencing climate change. Precipitation and rain are not expected to be consistent, decreasing the amount of freshwater available for human consumption. If freshwater levels reduce, then tap water supply will be affected, and people will have to turn to bottled water for safe drinking water. The total freshwater resources available in the world are only around 2.5 percent of all the water on earth. The rest of the water is salt water, which is not fit for human consumption. People in Asia consume around 2.85 trillion cubic liters of water each day, and this is expected to increase by at least 150 percent by 2025.

The chart below shows the quantity of freshwater available in the world in 2007.

There is not much water available for human consumption. Asia is home to around 60.0 percent of the world's population, but it has got only 36.0 percent of the usable freshwater available in the world. Pollution from industry, agriculture, and human waste adds to the pathetic situation of the lack of freshwater. The demand for water has increased by more than 300 percent in the last 50 years, while the supply remains the same. The average run-off for rivers in the region is around 13,000 cubic kilometers, which is approximately 23.0 percent of the global run-off. The per capita availability of water in the region is around 3,300 cubic meters per year, which is two times lesser than the world average. Population growth between 1950 and 1995 caused the availability to drop by around 70.0 percent in South and Central Asia, 60.0 percent in northern China, and 50.0 percent in Southeast Asia. Moreover, 12 additional years have passed since this was measured. Until recently, most of the river resources in Asia Pacific faced the problem of high pollution, especially when they neared cities. Population growth, urbanization, and damage to water catchments as a result of deforestation, and agricultural and industrial activities are likely to lead to the increased destruction of freshwater resources. However, of late, industrial wastewater has been strictly regulated, and the pollution from industrial affluent has reduced. Albeit, the quality of the water is not the best for drinking purposes. Examples of polluted tap water supply can be found in Vietnam and China. As a result, bottled water has found great favor in these countries. This provides a good opportunity for bottled water to serve the thirst of the human population.

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