From Abundance to Scarcity: The Changing Value of Water

Water is a precious resource that is essential to maintaining life on Earth. The world’s water supply has, however, been severely strained by the expanding population and industrialization. Two-thirds of the world’s population may experience water shortages by 2025, with severe ramifications for agriculture, energy production, and human health, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund. Water resources must be managed sustainably, with a focus on their efficient use and conservation. Due to its dwindling supply and soaring demand, it is frequently referred to as the “liquid gold” of the future. By 2050, there will likely be 9.8 billion people on the planet, which will result in a significant increase in the demand for water for industrial, agricultural, and domestic uses. The world’s water resources are also being impacted by the changing climate, which is resulting in droughts, floods, and water pollution. As a result, lack of water is now a major problem that needs to be managed well and with urgency.

However, when the demand for water outweighs the supply, it is said to be in a “water scarce” situation. It can take many different forms, such as physical water scarcity, where there isn’t enough available water to meet local demand, or economic water scarcity, where there isn’t enough money invested in infrastructure and technology to make water accessible. According to the World Economic Forum, it is one of the top five global risks in terms of impact. It is time for us to take notice of the urgent need for action that water scarcity has created in many parts of the world. We must heed the United Nations’ warning that a major challenge we face in the twenty-first century is a lack of fresh water. Climate change, population growth, and the excessive use of water resources are just a few of the causes of water scarcity.

Meanwhile, climate change has changed the water cycle, which has resulted in less fresh water being available. Additionally, as more people require access to clean water for drinking, sanitation, and agriculture, population growth places a strain on water resources. Overusing water for irrigation, industry, and mining can deplete water supplies in a similar way to overusing other resources.

However, a lack of water can have detrimental effects that are both immediate and long-lasting, and Pakistan has long struggled with this issue. It has a water-intensive agrarian economy that is heavily reliant on agriculture. Pakistan’s rapidly expanding population is one of the main causes of the country’s water shortage. With more than 230 million people, it is one of the most populous countries in the world. In Pakistan, the effects of water scarcity are severe. Widespread waterborne illnesses like cholera and typhoid fever have been caused by an absence of clean water. A lack of water can cause a shortage of food and an increase in food prices because it can lead to waterborne diseases, which cause millions of deaths annually throughout the world. It can also reduce agricultural productivity. Industries that depend on water for their operations may encounter obstacles that restrict their ability to expand and become profitable.

What steps can be taken to address this modern silent crisis? A variety of strategies are required because there are no simple answers. There are several actions that can be taken to address the water shortage. Implementing technologies like drip irrigation, which minimizes water waste, is one way to increase water efficiency. A different strategy is to raise awareness of water conservation by teaching people how to use less water in their daily lives. The supply of fresh water can also be increased by making investments in new water infrastructure, such as desalination plants and wastewater treatment facilities. In addressing the water shortage, government policies can be extremely important. Water waste can be decreased and conservation can be encouraged with the help of policies that encourage sustainable water use, such as water pricing that reflects the real cost of water.

Meanwhile, policies that encourage the use of renewable energy sources can also aid in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, which can worsen water scarcity and contribute to climate change. It is important to understand that this issue affects everyone worldwide and is not just a local or regional issue. We can address this issue and guarantee that everyone has access to clean water by putting policies in place to improve water efficiency, encourage conservation, and invest in new water infrastructure. However, water resources can be preserved through improved water management practices like lowering waste and promoting effectiveness. Improved efficiency in water-intensive industries and changing one’s way of life can both help solve the issue. Whether it be through individual decisions or advocating for changes in local and international policy, we can all play a part in resolving this issue. Together, we can guarantee that having access to clean water will continue to be a fundamental human right for future generations.

Nadir Ali
Nadir Ali
Nadir Ali is associated with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). He has written for Pakistan Today, Pakistan Observer, Global Affairs, and numerous other publishers. He tweets at @hafiznadirali7 and can be reached at hafiznadirali7[at]