The Problem of Water Shortage Due to the Growing Population in China, India, and Australia

Zhang, J. (2013). Impacts of Water Shortage. Coastal Saline Soil Rehabilitation and Utilization      Based on Forestry Approaches in China, 93-106. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-39915-2_11

Zhang’s article (2013) describes the Chinese people’s reliance on the Yellow River. Once regarded as the primary source of water for the people of China, the ever-expanding population of the most populated nation in the world is using up its viability to the people. As the population continues to grow, the people of China are finding themselves in a survival crisis. (Zhang, 2013) This is not only the direct cause of population growth, but rather how this growth has affected the environment.

While China is a primary example of this potential global trend, it does not mean that the rest of the world is immune to their own water shortages, particularly in highly populated areas with high temperatures. The United States is facing the same issues in some states, and much of Latin and South America has experienced their share of these types of crises. As the global population begins to grow even more, the environment becomes even more polluted, and natural resources gradually begin to dwindle, we can expect to see the same trends throughout the rest of the world over time. If not addressed, these will ultimately lead to the destruction of other life forms and vegetation, harming an entire ecosystem.

Since the usable water from the yellow river is decreasing as the Chinese population continues to grow, proper management of it has become a priority. As people become more dependent on a single source of water, they would naturally feel inclined to relocate, or else not survive. Management of single water resources is taking place in other parts of the world as well, often in very hot and populated areas such as Phoenix, Arizona or Los Angeles. This article raises awareness for how relying on a common resource in mass numbers is not only detrimental for the people, but for the environment as well.

Mekonnen, M. M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2016). Four billion people facing severe water             scarcity. Science Advances2(2), e1500323-e1500323. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500323

Mekonnen and Hoekstra’s article (2016) discusses the actual severity of the global water shortage that is occurring today. Over two-thirds of the global community does not have access to an adequate amount of drinking water for at least one month out of the year. (Mekonnon & Hoekstra, 2016) Moreover, over half of this population is located between India and China alone. The other significant portion of severe water shortages occur in desolate, arid regions. The quality of life (or lack thereof) in these regions reflects the accessibility of various resources, namely water.

When vital resources become too limited for a large population to cope, desperation ensues. It is not uncommon for people to resort to violence to gain the resources they need to survive. As was discussed in the article, the primary countries and regions where these severe water scarcities are taking place are already subject to much violence and low standards of living. This is to be expected, as the livelihood and health of others are at stake. While water crises are high enough to be noticeable throughout the global community, moderations of the most valuable resources are commonly imposed. While this by itself is a rather drastic measure to take, it demonstrates human civilization’s capability of preserving resources in a somewhat civilized manner.

For major freshwater resources, daily caps are often imposed to moderate water consumption. This easily exploitable by those who are in positions of power, thus using water more liberally. As Americans, we have tendencies to leave faucets running or take long showers. In more densely populated areas where water isn’t as accessible as it is here, civil tensions are more prone to rising. This should serve as a warning for those who are fortunate enough t cave constant access to clean and usable water.

Ejaz Qureshi, M., Hanjra, M. A., & Ward, J. (2013). Impact of water scarcity in Australia on    global food     security in an era of climate change. Food Policy38, 136-145.         doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.11.003

As a necessity for survival, water impacts our way of life more than one would think. This includes political, legal, and economic levels. Qureshi, Hanjra, and Ward (2013) describe indirect effects of a drought in Australia on the island nation’s food production. Since the use of water is necessary to produce quality agriculture and sustain survival of the people, the little water that is available should naturally be reserved for what can be produced for and used by the Australian population. While this may only have minor effects on the residents of Australia, this country’s economy is funded heavily by food production. Since Australia typically exports food to countries in the Oceanic region, their inability to produce as much for sale was detrimental to their economic situation.

In this case, Australia’s agricultural performance of the 2000’s suffered because of the lack of water. This, in turn, dent their economic performance in regards to its regular trading with Southeast Asia and Oceania. (Qureshi, Hanjra, & Ward, 2013) While this water shortage may have had negative effects on available food exports, there are other ways in which a nation’s economy can suffer as a result of water shortages.  In areas that are heavily populated and susceptible to resorting to violence to survive, the wellbeing of that country is just as much at stake as its economy. There are also other nations that, if put in the same situation as Australia, would suffer from similar blows to their agricultural supply. This always plays a role in the survivability of a region’s population, as well as the amount of food that can be supplied and distributed among the native population as well as exports. As a global community, our national economies are reliant on each other in one way or another.

Bibliography

  1. Ejaz Qureshi, M., Hanjra, M. A., & Ward, J. (2013). Impact of water scarcity in Australia on global food security in an era of climate change. Food Policy38, 136-145. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.11.003

  2. Mekonnen, M. M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2016). Four billion people facing severe water scarcity. Science Advances2(2), e1500323-e1500323. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500323

  3. Zhang, J. (2013). Impacts of Water Shortage. Coastal Saline Soil Rehabilitation and Utilization Based on Forestry Approaches in China, 93-106. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-39915-2_11