In the world we live in today, it is common for people to be driven by fears of what will come in the future. Take a look at the topic of water on this planet, though, and you can be fooled into thinking that it will last forever. After all, given more of the planet is water rather than land, and to many, water can feel like an infinite resource. However, it only takes a quick look at many developing (and developed) countries to see that water shortages are already happening.
Securing freshwater has been for many powerful nations an easy thing to do. However, many smaller nations either lack the technology or the physical water resources they need. Given that water is a key foundation of just about all aspects of our lives, making sure that we have enough water for the people of this planet – and its fauna and flora – is essential. So, will water ever run out on Earth?
With everything else we have to worry about, do you need to add the slowly ticking timebomb of water starvation to your list of things to worry about?
We have always had the same quantity of water
So, one of the most interesting facts about the talk of water crises is that today, we have no less water than we did when the planet was first formed. Water does not leave the planet, nor is it brought to the planet by an external source. The amount of water that exists on this planet is the same amount of water as there has always been.
This is an important distinction to make, as it is easy to see talk of ‘running out of water’ as meaning we will quite literally have no water one day. However, there is an important distinction to make between having water and having water we can actually use.
Normally, talk of running out of water on Earth is based on the simple concept of running out of water that we can actually use. As populations expand, industries rise, and thus more water is needed, we could conceivably use up our useable water in the long-term.
Not all water can be used for our daily purposes, and certainly, we cannot use all of the water in the world to safely drink. Add in that long-term climates issues can have an impact on how much water we can collect at any one time, and it is easy to see how water could feasibly ‘run out’ one day.
Does climate change have an impact on water availability?
Yes, it does. Water supplies are, for many countries, based on the amount of rain they see. This is why otherwise rich and developed parts of the world, like California in the USA, can go through droughts. Without rainfall, it is harder to build up water. So, as we see more extreme weather – from extreme droughts to extreme floods – we will see a change in how much water is actually going to be available.
This matters a great deal as many assume that we can simply just keep collecting and/or repurposing water as and when we need it. If climates continue to heat up and thus there is less rainfall, it means there is less water available to collect and then used for creating the water that fuels our industries and fuels our bodies.
The importance of water recycling
Today, water recycling facilities are a hugely growing and important resource. More and more people are using water-recycling facilities to help them take better care of the water that is currently available. This makes that we can re-use water that we already have and make it safe for use, or even drinking, again.
The development and improvement in water recycling tech is going to be absolutely essential to the long-term improvement of our water recycling habits. For that reason, you should very much see water recycling as something that you can focus on as a positive. It is also essential that we see more water recycling as the more we can re-use, the less likely it is that people have to go without it.
So, will the world ever run out of water completely? That is highly unlikely. What is more likely, though, is running out of water that we can use at that moment in time. As more investment is made into key infrastructure such as water recycling, though, this could – and should – change for the better.