Unfortunately, there are two words we can expect to hear more of in coming years. They are: "water” and “stress."
Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available supply during a certain period of the year or it can continue for many years. This can happen:
· When a serious and prolonged drought occurs
· When significant water restrictions are in place
· There is deterioration of aquifers (underground water supplies) that provide water for a community
· Contamination of water supplies or dried out rivers or water sources.
As if 2019, there are 17 countries around the world suffering from water stress. Twelve of them are in the Middle East, with the remainder in North Africa, parts of central Africa, and in India. While many of these countries suffer from chronic water stress, there are years when other countries that have been relatively free of water shortages also experience water stress.
This is believed to be caused by climate change. According to the World Bank, climate change is complicating matters, “causing water stress to materialize in areas typically not associated with water scarcities.”
In some countries of the world, such as India, there is great concern about the negative impacts of water stress. The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), an Indian government research agency, reports that the country is "suffering from the worst water crisis in its history, and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat."
India now ranks 13th for overall water stress. While that might not place India at the top of the list, when its population – now estimated at 1.4 billion – is considered, we see how a serious water stress issue can become a severe water crisis very quickly.
As to the United States, we are currently in better shape than many other parts of the world. However, that all depends on where in the country you live in. This past summer, many midwestern states experienced far more rainfall than usual. However, New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest are experiencing "extremely high-stress levels," according to the World Resources Institute. *
We cannot emphasize how acute an issue water stress is and can become. When demand exceeds supply, lifespans may be shortened, disease increases, and economic activity can grind to a stop.
Ways to Reduce Water Stress
While this may all sound grim, there are ways to tackle water stress, many of which are now being implemented. Among them are the following:
Agricultural efficiency. New methods and technologies are now being introduced to help farmers use water far more efficiently.
Improve water infrastructure. This can save billions of gallons of water every year.
Never say “wastewater.” We must stop using the word "wastewater." There are now many ways to recycle, treat, and reuse water so that it can be used for human consumption, vegetation, and industrial purposes.
Stop using water. Technologies such as no-water urinals are now being installed in facilities around the world. These not only save millions of gallons of water annually but can make a dramatic impact on reducing water consumption very quickly.
The Waterless Co blog is where building owners and managers find expert, practical advice on ways to reduce water consumption and to help use water more efficiently. Our goal is to protect our most valuable of natural resources, help facilities reduce their water consumption and water-related costs, and operate in a more environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. For more information, contact us at 1-800-244-6264