It is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region. It already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. Many people are lacking access to clean drinking water.
Water scarcity involves water stress, water shortage or deficits, and water crisis. While the concept of water stress is relatively new, it is the difficulty of obtaining sources of fresh water for use during a period of time and may result in further depletion and deterioration of available water resources. Water shortages may be caused by climate change, such as altered weather patterns including droughts or floods, increased pollution, and increased human demand and overuse of water. A water crisis is a situation where the available potable, unpolluted water within a region is less than that region's demand.
Water scarcity can be a result of two mechanisms: physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity, where physical water scarcity is a result of inadequate natural water resources to supply a region's demand, and economic water scarcity is a result of poor management of the sufficient available water resources.
According to ScienceDaily,
Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region. It already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year.
Overpopulation - The rapid increase in human population combined by massive growth in industry sector have transformed water ecoystems & resulted in loss of biodiversity. As population is increasing at an ever increasing rate, the demand for new resources will result in additional pressure on freshwater sources.
Agriculture - It uses the majority of available freshwater, 60% of this water gets wasted due to inefficient agriculture methods and leaky irrigation systems.
Water pollution - This is another cause of water scarcity. It includes pesticides and fertilizers that wash away from farms, industrial amd human waste that is directly dumped into rivers. Oil spill on the ground, waste water leakage from landfills can seep underground and may pollute the groundwater making it unfit for human consumption.
In many developing countries, people are forced to drink low quality water from flowing streams, many of which are contaminated. There are many water-borne diseases that people die off.Less water also means sewage does not flow, and mosquitoes are other insects breed on stagnant dirty water. The result is deadly malaria and other infections. Lack of water or quality water causes huge sanitation issues. Clinics, local restaurants, public places of convenience and many other places are forced to use very little water for cleaning. This compromises the health of the staff and people who use the facilities.
It is a bit hard to see how water and education is related. For many people in other parts of the world children (and teen girls) have to be up at dawn to collect water for the family. They have to walk for several miles to get water. The children get tired and some have to miss school as a result. Doing this for many years take away school times and the cycle continues. In other places, girls and women are not allowed to go to school at all so that they can serve the family by getting water and taking care of other family needs.
Access to quality water is key to economic prosperity and better living standards. Businesses and schools thrive when people come to work on time and not have to spend all morning looking for water. Restaurants, hotels and shopping places need to keep clean to attract tourists and foreign investments. Manufacturing activities, commercial farms, and mining processes all need a lot of water to thrive. Lack of water means no economic activities will happen and the people will be in constant poverty.
It takes a lot of water to grow food and care for animals. Experts say that globally we use 70% of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation and only 10% on domestic uses. Less water means farming and other crops that need water to grow have lower yield. It means farm animals will die and others will not do well without water. The result is constant hunger and thirst and low quality of life.
Water re-use and effective water treatment technologies.
Infrastructure repair & maintence.