IN THIS ISSUE: Volume 3: Issue 2
From fresh water to Safe Water
What does the UN International Year of Water Cooperation actually mean?
Melanie Ryan, Nigel Dobson and Matthew Reddy.
Water, water, everywhere… and not a drop to drink; or so goes the adage. In the 21st century the supposed “blue planet” is becoming less so. Or is it? While water scarcity is apparent to some extent across most of the world, its effects are not felt evenly across all nations or all people. It has become clear over time that those people living in the most impoverished regions in the world are more susceptible to the effects of water scarcity than those who are not.
Defining water scarcity and understanding the complexity of the topic can also be challenging. Water scarcity cannot be singularly defined as access to water. Three quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, yet over 90% of that water is saline and unsuitable for human consumption. This is therefore not considered to be “fresh water”. Of the remaining percentage that is fresh, a portion is stored in our polar caps and glaciers. So once you reach the small percentage of water on Earth that is available, there is still a range of issues related to both water quantity and water quality that affect whether it is suitable for use. It is not merely enough to have physical access to fresh water as a water source.