Use of water is essential in all organizations, businesses and other human activities. However, wasting water can have serious implications on the environment. Wasting water can lead to over exploitation of existing sources which might result to scarcity locally, nationally and globally.
The scarcity of water can contribute to far reaching consequences. Not only will drinking water be affected but also the production of food. Landscapes can also degrade and be altered when there is insufficient water. Over-extraction of underground water reserves can also have negative implications. Water tables can fall below levels where rain water cannot recharge them.
In the UK, there are systems which are already in place to remove toxins which can be harmful to water. This is mainly happening at the water supply sites. Cleaning and pumping of water requires energy. Most of the energy used in water cleaning is derived from fossil fuels. These fossil fuels are also getting depleted with time. There is also emission of additional greenhouses which is creating further damage to the environment.
In the United States, the water sector is among the sectors that consume a lot of energy. The same scenario is also observed in the United Kingdom. According to a study done to assess the sustainability of water indicators, the water industry consumed more than 8650GWh of energy. This is enough energy required to run more than 5.5 million television sets nonstop for a whole year. For businesses and homes that run hot water systems, the emissions of carbon are even much higher. This is because the energy used during water heating must be taken into consideration.
Use of water affects the local water quality. What this means is that the process purifying and cleaning water is difficult and requires high amounts of energy. There exist clear guidelines regarding the discharge of water. Most countries release sewage to the sea. This can lead to diseases and sewer material damaging the beaches. There also exist a big problem with regard to disposing of non-sewage items such as nappies, sanitary towels, oils, medical equipment, and fats. Such items can lead to blockage in sewers, damaging infrastructure and causing human health problems. There are more extreme cases which involve disposal of chemicals into water sources. Such activities can destroy biodiversity making the water purification harder and more energy intensive.
The pollution of water can create serious effects on aquatic animals such as fish, invertebrates, and mammals. High concentrations of pollution agents can lead to the extinction of certain water animals. Lower levels of pollution can also damage aquatic life. Low levels of contaminants down the food chain can accumulate high up in the food chain and affect animals such as birds, fish and mammals. These pollutants can also affect humans after consuming aquatic animals such as fish.
Water use and conservation
In New York State alone, more than 8.9 billion gallons of water are withdrawn daily from estuaries, streams, rivers, and lakes. Water is extracted to be used for public supply, agriculture, thermo electric and other uses. This is just an indicator how much water goes into human activities alone.
Although human beings cannot live without water, it is important to use it properly and to cut down on wastage. Water sources must also be protected from pollution and over extraction.