The National Critical Technology my group chose was Environmental Quality. Within this NCT, we decided to address the problem of water shortage; more specifically the overusing of it. Water shortage is a global problem that is growing steadily worse due to several causes such as poor water administration and pollution. The following is data was compiled by NASA, the World Health Organization, and other agencies and published in a USA Today article in 2003:
According to the website of the World Water Council, more than one out six people in the world today do not have access to safe drinking water. The inaccessibility of water in poor countries is not the only problem. The contamination of water resources is also an increasing problem of its own due to poor sanitary and agricultural situations in these countries. These scarcities lead to increased tensions between different parties; tensions that are based on a simple principle—everyone needs to drink.
There are many other current environmental issues, but we chose to address this particular one because it is extremely important, but yet it gains so much less publicity than a newer issue such as global warming. Each group member came up with an initial idea, each one addressing a different issue, but we decided, as a group, that Arman’s idea, a filter device for water recycling, was not only the most relevant on a global scale but was also the most innovative and effective out of our initial ideas.
If you ask any fellow American citizen about the issue of water shortage how would you think they would answer? Most would interpret it on a local or regional scale; unaware of the ongoing global crisis that is occurring in many parts of the world ultimately resulting in dehydration and poor sanitary conditions. It is not that the common person does not care, more so it is that this situation is not taking place in that individual’s hometown. This water crisis that is so misunderstood is very much evident and real in the modern world. In places like Sudan, contaminated water is the only water source for many. The number of people deprived of clean water in Sudan has reached 17 million and 20 million lack access to sanitation, according to UNICEF. Currently, Sudan has the highest number of people lacking water. In places such as Venezuela, drought has hit the country hard resulting in massive water shortages. Water must be brought to their need so they can recover. World Bank, a financial institution that gives aid to poor countries, reports that over 80 countries now have water shortages. This is crippling the health and economy of these countries, but even more devastating is the fact that 40% of the world’s populations do not have access to clean water. That is staggering count of over 2 billion people. These problems must be addressed if we wish to see a better tomorrow.
The problem of shortage of water has deeply affected mankind in many ways. It being one of the most widespread issues in existence, every single country feels the sting of this problem in one way or another. The shortage of water has affected people's lives at an economic level, a medical level, and a political level.
Economically, the shortage of water has certainly taken its toll. For many reasons such as population growth, inefficient use of water, improper sanitation of water, and even global warming, the earth's amount of clean water has dramatically decreased. Some areas of the world are taking the economic approach of putting a cost on water in the irrigation industry. Farmers who have to pay for their water use around 30% less for irrigation. In many poor cities such as Mexico City and Jakarta without a pipe system, people receive their water in trucks that vend extremely overpriced water. The water is so overpriced that they spend one-quarter of their income buying it.
The shortage of water has significantly affected the health of the men and women of the world. 2 billion people have absolutely no access to clean drinking water or water to clean with. At any one moment, up to half of the 6.1 billion people in the world have a disease caused by deprivation of water or by poor sanitation of water. Every year, 5 million people die from lack of water or from the poor cleanliness that results from not having clean water.
The shrinking supply of the world's water had had political results as well. The scarcity of water has caused countries that share the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to exchange threats to each other about what is allowed to be done with the water from those rivers, and the other rivers that are shared in that area.
Overall, people's lives are affected in very many different kinds of ways by the shortage of water.
The wasting of water does, in fact, affect our nation’s economy. It affects our nation’s economy by affecting businesses. For example, companies in industries such as technology and agriculture are especially susceptible to the consequences resulting from a water shortage. According to several reports, as the global population rises by 50 million each year and climate change makes areas with warmer weather more vulnerable to drought, water will eventually become a scarce resource. Since World War II, the use of freshwater has more than doubled and is expected to increase by another 25 % by 2030. Even the largest public pension fund in the United States, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), is being affected for they finally realize that no one can take water for granted anymore.