Today, whereas some parts of the world are experiencing water shortages, some are having it in abundant. The areas having enough rainfall throughout the year sometimes lack water for basic activities like drinking, irrigation and animal watering. This means that communities in these areas have to move from one place to another to facilitate animal watering. Several activities at home require water. Example, cooking, watering animals, irrigation, bathing and drinking among others. Therefore water needs to be conserved to assist in these activities. In general, water resources need to be managed to ensure enough water to the population. This process of managing water resources to provide water security is called blue revolution.
Cynthia Barnette, (2011) argues that blue revolution is important in many ways. It promotes the clean production of drinking water to the populations’ thus reducing the occurrences of water diseases. Example, diseases like cholera, typhoid arise through contaminated water thus by conserving and managing and maintaining the water resources, we are assured of clean water. Industrialization, urbanization and population increase pose a serious demand on water supply. These aspects use a lot of water and to be able to facilitate and maintain them, water resources must be maintained. Example, tree plant and forest conservation increases surface cover, attracts rainfall and promotes habitats for many organisms. Through the planting of the trees, the carbon levels in the atmosphere will decrease; through photosynthesis thus promote clean air.
Rain water harvesting
In most rural homes, it is possible to find rain water being collected from the roof during rain seasons and stored for future use. The water can be used for washing, irrigation, and when treated it can be used for drinking. This process, involving collecting rain water from the surfaces on which the water fall, storing and managing it for future use is called rain or roof water harvesting. This can be done by directing water into an underground reservoir or using an external tank. Water harvesting is important as is ensures water supply during periods of high demand and low supply. (Chen, Xuefei 2007). These periods include drought periods when water catchment areas dry up thus affecting both crops and animals. Rain water contains no chemicals used during water treatment and thus safe and secure for drinking. It is also safe and economical way of getting water compared to the piped water or from water bodies which poses a risk of damaging water sources and habitats for many aquatic organisms.
Economically, rain water harvesting requires few resources like the tank to facilitate the harvesting thus reduces the expenditure on water. By directing water into the external or underground tanks, there is a reduced risk of water runoff that may cause soil erosion. The accumulation and stagnation of rain water promotes mosquito breeding and promote malaria thus by harvesting the water one reduces the risk of having malaria. Example, digging holes and cementing them near farms for the purpose of guiding water and storage promotes both animal and crop farming
Water demand and supply relationship
Water is a vital resource for supporting our health and lives. Clean water has become a scarce resource due to wasteful use, pollution and climate change among others therefore hard to find a balance between human and environmental needs. In our day to day activities, we are in constant use of water in various areas like cooking, drinking and farm activities. Water demand is therefore the total amount of water required within the ecosystem for life sustenance. Many sectors require water for facilitation. They include navigation, fishing, farming, environment, domestic, industries and involve both processes that consume water like drinking and those that do not consume like fish farming.
There are different sources of water available for supply. They are categorized into three broad sources namely; natural, ground and surface water sources. The natural water supply involves the rain, hail stone that fall from the skies and can be considered the purest. The surface source of water gets water through run off rain water that passes areas that do not infiltrate the water. This then enters the rivers and streams. The availability of surface water source depend presence and absence of rainfall. Example, rivers, lakes. Sometimes the precipitated water infiltrates into the soil and may finally reach deep areas in the ground. This water can become a source by digging up bore hole or sometimes the water may flow out by itself thus a spring. There are times when the supply of water is low compared to the general demand. This means that sources of water are few compared to the number of processes that require the water. To manage the demand one can recycle and reuse the water to reduce wastages. Example the water used for washing can be reserved for animal drinking. The available water can also be conserved and used sparingly.
Water market refers to the common places that provide water to the people in demand. This involves water trading where there is buying and selling of water rights. In this case the seller has surplus water to his demand while the buyer faces scarcity of water. The water market helps in the allocation of water to the required users thus avoids the concept of water wastage. Scarborough, B. (2010) noted that the establishment of a water market may offer a solution to the scarcity of the commodity in relation to the social, political backgrounds of the region. The water market can be controlled by issuance of rights schemes to help in fewer people or organizations offering the same service. These schemes also help in determining the price of water for the user.
The water market schemes in Colorado involve issuance of water rights to the people by the court that also settles water disputes through the Colorado Division of Water Resources. The most affected water source is the surface water source where by for one to get aright to divert water for beneficial use one must apply to the courts giving your intent to divert water and if no opposition is sited then a right is given is centralizing the process to a regional corporation that distributes water in a given region using the national policies (Bunn, S. E.& Arthington, A. H. 2002). In this policy, the end users are assured of the water supply and the prices are controlled by the state laws.
Water is a critical resource in the world and its scarcity brings forth many problems within the ecosystem. In 2001, the then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan noted that the access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Also, contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity. Today, the availability of drinking water depends on both quality and quantity factors including population pressures, industrial demands, human mass use and misuse, environmental degradation, water pollution and climate change. Water resources sometimes may be found within the boundaries of two or more countries and for these case issues arise on how the water should be managed; the systematic analysis of the interstate conflict and cooperation regarding water resources is called hydro politics. (Rasler, Karen A. & W. R. Thompson, 2006).
In several countries, there have been issues relating to water especially if the water source passes through the boundaries of more than one nation. Consider the Ganges River that brought conflict between India and Bangladesh. The river was beneficial to both the people in India and those in Bangladesh. Now, India decided to control the flow of the water downstream to Bangladesh through the construction of the Farraka Barrage to help divert water to Calcutta to avoid it from drying during a dry season. For this action the water demand of the Bangladesh people especially farmers lacked enough water for agriculture and other domestic use (Serageldin, I. 2009). The Indians acted selfishly to the Bangladesh instead they ought to have agreed first before taking that action. Such actions prompt conflicts but thy can be resolved majorly through democratic means. The two nations decided to share water equally after signing an agreement.
Environmental flow refers to the water within a river, wetland to maintain the organism and their environment. Within the ecosystem, there seems to be a natural way in which each aspect of nature should move (Pearce, Fred 2006). For example, rivers are to flow through their original areas and not diverted. Today the world rivers flow is being modified through construction of dams, diversion to urban supply; agriculture and maintenance of flow for navigation among others. The interventions have generally caused an alteration on the total flow of the water. The natural flow of rivers has several advantages including provision of water to the organism and the environment thus conserving nature. There are diverse organisms that depend on the water and maintain that natural flow means maintaining their lives.
In the United States, The Bill William’s River was diverted into the Alamo dam thus disrupting the ecosystem down stream. Rivers like many other water bodies harbor diverse organisms ranging form fish, microbes and plants among others meaning that these organisms died and thus disruption of the biodiversity. The farmers along the river banks lacked water for farming and other domestic uses affecting their daily lives. Consider a case where a production industry diverts a river for the purposes of enough water supplies to the industry. The industry will release chemicals in the river that when they accumulate down stream, can cause eutrophication. This has an environmental effect of killing the aquatic organisms and consequently causing pollution. (Arthington, A, 2006)
Efforts have been put in place to control such activities so that the natural biodiversity is maintained. The general concern of the public will send the scientists to make a thorough research on the effects of the diversion and put in place measures to secure the environment.
Arthington, A. H., Bunn, S. E., Poff, N. L., and Naiman, R. J. 2006. The challenge of providing environmental flow rules to sustain river ecosystems. Ecological Applications 16(4):1311-1318.
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Bunn, S. E., and Arthington, A. H. 2002. Basic principles and ecological consequences of altered flow regimes for aquatic biodiversity. Environmental Management 30:492-507.
Chen, Xuefei (2007-08-27). "Rainwater harvesting benefits farmers in Gansu". People's Daily Online.
Howe, Charles and Goemans, Christopher. 2003. Water Transfers and their Impacts: Lessons from Three Colorado Water Markets. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 39 (5) 1055 1065.
Pearce, Fred When the Rivers Run Dry: Water—the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century Beacon Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8070-8572-3 ISBN 978-0-8070-8572-1
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Scarborough, B.( 2010). Environmental water markets: Restoring streams through trade. PERC Policy Series No. 46.
Serageldin, I. ‘Water: conflicts set to arise within as well as between states’, Nature, Vol. 459, p.163. 2009.
Tharme, R. E. 2003. A global perspective on environmental flow assessment: emerging trends in the development and application of environmental flow methodologies for rivers. River Research and Applications 19:397-441.
Cynthia Barnette, 2011: Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis