Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title: ||Verdens ferskvannsressurser og den globale krise - en felles utfordring : bruk og forbruk, trusler og konflikter|
|Authors: ||Ntachombwene, John B. Mpongo|
|Issue Date: ||18-Nov-2008 |
|Abstract: ||he objective of this thesis is to provide an overview of the world's freshwater situation with
focus on drinking water. The assessment is mainly based on literary sources, including current
knowledge of the water resources and water management.
The global freshwater crisis leaves large parts of humanity to a life in poverty and living
conditions characterised by vulnerability and insecurity. The water crisis does not attract the
same weight of attention in the media as wars and natural disasters do. Yet, this crisis claim
more human lives as a result of disease than any war does.
The bulk of the water on earth is found in the large ocean areas (97.5%). Lakes, rivers and
streams account for only a small fraction of the water on the earth (about 0.3%). Most of the
fresh water is found in the form of icebergs and snow (68.9%) and ground water (29.9%).
Water is used for many purposes, such as drinking water, in hygiene, agriculture, industry and
recreation. Global freshwater withdrawals are almost doubled since 1960. The use of fresh
water increases 2.5 times faster than the population growth. While the Earth's population was
tripled in the last century, water consumption raised six folds.
Globally, about 277 million hectars of land is under irrigation. Agriculture is the largest
consumer of freshwater, with 70 % of the freshwater consumption. Artificial irrigation in
agriculture has tripled since 1950 and 40 % of food production in the world today comes from
irrigated agricultural areas. The industry accounts for 23% and households for 7 % of the
water consumption. Over-consumption of ground water resources is one of the most serious
problems in the water sector today. Ground water level declines because of this. It is expected
that consumption will continue to increase in the future as a result of population growth.
There is a battle for water in many regions of the world. Approximately 40 % of the world's
population depends on fresh water which originates from neighbouring countries. More than
200 major rivers in the world are divided between two or more countries. Disagreement over
the use of this water has turned into a political issue and a source of conflicts in several places
on earth. This is the case within the Nile, Jordan, Euphrates, Tigris and the Ganges.
Of the world's population of about 6.6 billion, at least 1.1 billion people do not have access to
clean drinking water. Almost half of the world's population is in a situation where they cannot
satisfy their basic hygienic requirements. In other words, 1.1 billion people live under
extreme poverty world-wide. For this reason, we can talk about a global water crisis. The
global water crisis is a set of local water crises that gradually broadens and increase in scope.
Pollution, overuse, uneven distribution and poor water management of freshwater are the
most important reasons for water scarcity on earth. Many of the environmental problems
know no boundaries. The water cycle is a fragile system that is constantly threatened by
environmental pollution. Sewage can seep into groundwater, or run out into rivers or lakes,
thus, contaminating the only water resources in the area. Elsewhere, however, emissions from
industrial and agricultural establishments play a central role in environmental pollution.
Pollution resulting from heavy metals and other chemical substances create a serious problem
to drinking water. Arsenic contaminated groundwater is a constant problem in Bangladesh,
where more than 35 million of the people drink contaminated groundwater every day. This
has caused major health problems in Bangladesh, including cancer, food poisoning and skin
The incidences and outbreaks of water-related diseases is one of the greatest threats to human
health on earth. Of all the world's disease cases, 80 % are water related and more than three
million die each year because of water problems. Most patients with water related diseases
live in the poorest areas of developing countries. Poverty reduction is one of the United
Nations’ main priorities, and permanent access to clean water is essential to combat poverty.
According to the European Union’s Water Directive, water supply shall be safe, monitored
and protected so that drinking water does not pose a potential threat and source for spread of
infectious substances. Everyone is entitled to sufficient drinking water of good quality. At
least 20-50 liters of clean water are needed per person per day, according to the World Health
Organizations (WHO). A minimum of two hygienic barriers in our water supply system is
acceptable, according to paragraph 14 of the Norwegian Drinking Water Act.
Many of the water-based ecosystems are destroyed as a result of dam construction, drainage
of wetland areas, and drawing of water for industry, agriculture and households, or pollution from these activities. This results in the extermination of many species; others are threatened
or sharply reduced.
In comparison to the period 1980-1999, UN’s climate panels expect a rise in mean global
temperature of 1.1 to 6.4 º C from 2090 to 2099. Sea levels are expected to rise with 19 to 58
cm in the same period. Most likely, climate change will lead to more floods, drought periods,
heat waves and diseases in many places on earth. Insecurities due to flooding and drought can
be reinforced by climate change. The poorest people in the driest areas are likely to be hit the
There is enough freshwater on earth today. The problem is rather that many do not have
access to it. This is due to uneven distribution of water resources and power. The world's
population increases by 74 million people each year. Areas with water scarcity are expected
to increase from the current 31 to 48 countries in 2025. If this trend continues in the same rate
2/3 of the world's population will live in areas with fresh water shortage by 2025.|
|Document type: ||Master's thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||Mastergradsavhandlinger i natur-, helse- og miljøvern|
This item is protected by a usage licens. All items in TEORA are protected by copyright.