Freshwater: Availability & Pollution

Freshwater: Availability and Pollution

Water. Why is water important and do we have any issues in the world with it??

Your bodies are around 60% water. Without access to clean water, humans would not survive for more than 4 days (Spector, 2018). Additionally, we use it for our food production, industrial development and modern living standards. However, with the rapid industrial development and the social system based on competition (an unbalanced system that is only aimed at going forward with time), we tend to forget the bigger picture- our planet cannot support this model for too long.

Water scarcity. What is it?

One of the main issues our planet Earth is experiencing is the issue with the extremely unequal access to drinking water. This is due to global water scarcity- “the geographic and temporal mismatch between freshwater demand and availability” (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2016). If you live in places where there is more than enough water like most parts of North America, Europe and Brasil you are a lucky one! However, this is not the case with other regions: North Africa, the Middle East, India, Mexico, large portions of South America and many islands.

Probably some of you already have heard from the news about the case in India where people are experiencing a real water crisis with “600 million people facing acute water shortage” (BBC News, 2018). With the crisis going only to worse, around 200,000 Indians die annually due to the lack of accessible drinking water, according to the report (BBC News, 2018). Due to the increasing population, the demand for water and food increases while the planet’s resources are not increasing. With more than 97% of the world’s water supply is seawater and undrinkable, and 2.3% is frozen, people and animals rely on the rest 0.5% of the world’s water for all our needs. Therefore, people like India’s citizens need to compete for water with agriculture (which uses 80% of their available water for food production) and the industry.

At the end of the lecture as a group, we concluded that:

  • Sustainability isn’t one aspect is a group of different things and one doesn’t exist without another.
  • Individuals have different values when it comes to the environment/sustainability
  • In the geological clock, we need to slow down and critically think about the consequences
  • Don’t give up on humanity just yet

By: Kalina & Fidan


BBC News. (2019). India on brink of ‘worst water crisis’. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019].

Mekonnen, M. and Hoekstra, A. (2016). Four billion people facing severe water scarcity. Science Advances, 2(2), p.e1500323.

Rockstrom, J. et al. Ecol. Soc. (in the press); available from

Spector D, (2018), ‘Here’s how many days a person can survive without water’ (2019). [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019].


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