We need trusted resources when times are uncertain. Nothing is more important than having a trusted water source. Without water, there is no life. These solutions to water scarcity are designed to help make water access more convenient and reliable even when it seems like there isn’t as much water around.
1. Change consumption habits.
Many of the food products we enjoy require thousands of gallons of water to produce. If we change our consumption habits in small ways, we can make much more water available. Reducing just one serving of beef per week in a family of four, for example, could save upwards of 5,000 gallons of water per year.
2. Improve wastewater recycling.
Wastewater treatment offers us the potential of returning fresh, clean water back to our environment to once again use. Singapore is one nation where water imports are being reduced to force a look at water recycling technologies. When appropriately treated, wastewater can become suitable drinking water once again.
3. Adopt new agricultural and irrigation practices.
About 70% of our current freshwater resources go toward agricultural needs. If we can improve irrigation practices to reduce water loss, then the amount of water we have access to having on a daily basis can improve. Sometimes creating new efficiencies within an existing system can be enough to make the necessary changes for the local environment.
4. Price water as the important resource it happens to be.
You can purchase freshwater supplies in bulk for pennies on the gallon. Nestle recently purchased several million gallons of water for less than $2,000. Utility pricing needs to be reformed as well since many systems are considered to be obsolete. In return, this may help to lower waste and water pollution, allowing us to solve the issues of water scarcity at local levels.
5. Create affordable desalination technologies.
Desalination is a fairly energy-intensive solution to stopping the problem of water scarcity. It tends to be quite expensive, even if it is being used on a personal level. Family-sized desalination pumps and filters can range in price from $500-$2,000, depending on the amount of output it can provide. By looking at solar energy and other alternative energy sources to desalinate water, we could make more use of the water that surrounds us.
6. Harvest water in areas that have no reliable resource.
Rainwater harvesting systems can help to reduce the demands that are placed on groundwater tables. In countries like India, where water access has been steadily declining, improvements in rainwater catchment have helped to continue providing water while independent control over the resource can be maintained.
7. Enforce current policies and regulations with greater consistency.
Laws like the Clean Water Act are intended to create solutions to water scarcity. The only problem is that many of these laws around the world are not strictly enforced, so water protections become inconsistent. The intention of these laws are good, but they cannot achieve their maximum benefit until there are meaningful consequences in place for violating the law.
8. Return to holistic management techniques.
We need to take a common-sense approach to our local ecosystems and their management. This may mean partnering a clean energy producer with local wastewater treatment facilities, installing technologies to monitor local ecosystems, or using fertilizers to produce biomass products instead of being applied to croplands so that it enters the downstream water supply and contaminants the freshwater resources there.
9. Change our distribution infrastructure.
Whether it is lead in the water pipes, a leak that creates a bacterial contamination, or a lack of treatment options in a developing nation, a poor infrastructure adds costs to our water supply and makes this resource scarcer than it needs to be. Even something as simple as improving wastewater overflow technologies can improve water access.
10. Stop the commercialization of water.
The industrial use of water accounts for over 20% of our current consumption habits. By focusing on sustainable practices instead of profitable practices, we can change how we look at water as a resource. One industry deserves particular attention: bottled water.
11. Continue improving filtration technologies.
Many water filters today are portable and can be taken to the most remote villages on our planet. Each filter may be able to produce up to 1,000 liters of clean water before needing to be replaced. If we can make unsafe water become safe to drink, we can create many more water resources that may help to reduce the amount of scarcity that is being seen.
The solutions to water scarcity may not be easy to implement. They may cause us to change certain habits or even our entire lifestyle. Without water, we have nothing, so these are solutions that each of us should consider on a regular basis.