Do you know your fact about water? When you leave the tap running, do you know what you are taking for granted?
Since 1993 (the first year World Water Day, March 22, was started), the United Nations reports that 2.6 billion more people have access to an improved drinking water source. However, the stress on our water supply is still a crucial issue; whether in a developed or developing country, pollution, climate change, development, and the increasing population are constantly putting pressure on water resources.
One third of the world’s major groundwater basins are overdrafted.
Based on research done by the University of California Irvine using NASA satellite data, one third of the world’s largest groundwater basins are quickly being used up. It is unknown how much water the aquifers still contain, but the rate at which the water is being used is much too fast to be sustainable in any way.
The Colorado River is threatened.
Since 2000, the Colorado River has suffered an extended drought, due to a shortage of precipitation and over-allocation. The river is one of the hardest working rivers and is essentially being run dry.
Almost all of California is in drought.
Although many areas in the state have seen improvements, 99 percent of California is in some form of drought, and at least half the state is in extreme drought. Unfortunately, the drought continues across the country, with 12.5 percent of the continental U.S. in drought.
663 million people don’t have access to safe drinking water.
Millions of people aren’t able to access clean water – the essential element for survival. The vast majority of people live in developing countries, but areas in the United States face the same issue. In 2014, Charleston, West Virginia had its water supply contaminated by a chemical spill, affecting the drinking water of over 300,000 people. In Flint, Michigan, residents were exposed to 17 months of lead-contaminated water. In smaller, rural areas in California, millions of residents receive their water from unregulated groundwater systems exposed to dangerous levels of arsenic and nitrates, among other things.
With a decreasing water supply and unacceptable lack of clean water, the first step to tackling the problem is awareness. Water quality and quantity is a worldwide problem, and something must be done to address the wide range of global water issues.