The impact of privatisation on the sustainability of water resources

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

More than two and a half millennia ago, the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus said  “best of everything is water” (Biswas, 2005; p.229). Indeed, water still remains the source of life although the world has changed dramatically. Water is the most important natural resource on our planet Earth. It is the basis of life that all organisms depend on for survival. Water is present on Earth as fresh or saltwater. About 97.5% of water is saltwater with a remaining 2.5% of fresh water.

Humans can only consume freshwater; however, only about 0.5% of the Earth’s freshwater is accessible (UNFPA, 2001). Figure 1 depicts the distribution of water resources in the world. Although freshwater is a renewable resource, the world's supply of fresh water is decreasing. Water demand already exceeds supply in many parts of the world, and as world population continues to rise conditions are expected to worsen (Chenoweth, 2008). According to the State of the World Report by UNFPA (2001), the global population has tripled over the past 70 years and the water use has grown six-fold. This is the result of industrial development and increased use of irrigation. Worldwide today, 54% of the annual available fresh water is being used. If consumption per person remains steady, by 2025 we could be using 70% of this total.

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Customer comments

  1. By LUTENDO RANANGA on

    I am happy to see such good information being dished out to the people as it will add to the awareness to the people of water scarcity. this will inturn make people to use water carefully.