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Potential solutions to water scarcity: education, innovation and action
Water September 1, 2020

Many of us don’t think twice about turning on the tap to get a glass of water. But that’s a luxury for many people. One in three people worldwide doesn’t have access to clean water. UN-endorsed projections estimate that in just ten years, global demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent. Climate change, population growth, pollution, agricultural practices, and failing water infrastructure are all contributing to the global water crisis.

While the situation is dire, there are many solutions that can begin to address global water scarcity. These include increasing awareness so we all understand the scope of the issue and potential solutions; investing in new technologies and methods to conserve and manage water; and motivating industry, government, and individuals to take collective action.

Here are some of the ways we can make a difference:

Increase awareness and education about water scarcity. It’s critical to generate awareness about the crisis and motivate people, businesses, and government agencies to take action. This includes educating people about the scope and impact of water scarcity, how to conserve water, and how to support water organizations helping people get access to clean water.

Invest in innovative technologies. There are promising new technologies like wastewater recycling, energy-efficient desalination plants, solar and UV water filtration, nanofiltration, and rainwater harvesting systems that can help address water scarcity.

Make agricultural irrigation more efficient. Almost 70 percent of our fresh water is used in agriculture. Enhanced soil moisture sensors, monitoring, weather stations, and communications systems can provide more accurate data to ensure water is not wasted. Growing less water-intensive crops should also be explored.

Improve water infrastructure. In the US, 2.1 trillion gallons of clean water are lost each year because of failing infrastructure. This not only wastes water, it wastes money. Innovative water distribution management technologies like leak detection and analytics solutions can increase a utility’s efficiency, reduce labor costs and minimize leaks.

Reduce water pollution. Stopping industry and individuals from dumping toxic substances into our water supplies and being able to accurately monitor water quality are critical steps to improving access to clean water. Consumers should dispose of toxic substances safely rather than pour them down the drain.

Encourage water conservation. Some everyday tips we can all do include:

  • Fill sink with water when washing dishes instead of letting the water run.
  • Use a bucket to catch the water while waiting for the shower to warm up.
  • Don’t let the water run when brushing teeth.
  • Install water-saving fixtures and appliances.
  • Flush toilets only when necessary.
  • Eliminate leaks in bathtubs, faucets, and toilets.
  • Replace a high-flow showerhead with low-flow ones.
  • Use a broom to clean sidewalks instead of water hoses.

Learn more @ World Resources Institute



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