Preserve water, Sustain Development

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

Water, a transparent fluid that forms streams, oceans, lakes and oceans is the major constituent of the fluid in living organisms. It also occupies a larger portion of the earth. It is estimated that 97% of water on the surface of the earth is salt water with only 3% being fresh water. Less than one third of fresh water occurs in an unfrozen state as groundwater while slightly over two thirds occur as glaciers and polar ice caps. Water is very essential in sustaining development. The process of achieving endurance of systems and processes in any activity that makes use of resources that is necessary to provide for the needs of future generations is known as sustainable development.

Water is said to be the source of life as life without water cannot thrive beyond few days unlike food. Water is vital for life. Water is health, nature, urbanization, industry, energy, food and equality.

Investments in water and sanitation services have over the years resulted in substantial economic gains. Despite these gains, the UN admits that about 748 million people do not have access to an improved source of drinking water. Lack of good source of drinking water affects health negatively, exposing these millions to diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and intestinal worms. Some vectors also depend on water for part of their lifecycle.

At the heart of global water cycle lie the interaction between the living and non-living components of life. Many human activities put pressure on water resources; these are worsened by climate changes. These changes have not only increased the demand for water but have reduced the supply of water.

Everyday more people move into urban areas from the rural areas. This requires improvement in water supply, expansion in collection and renewal of wastewaters. 2014 report of World Urbanization Prospects by UN DESA’s population division predicts that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria.

Water is a natural partner to energy. Water is needed to deliver energy as seen in dams and energy is needed for the supply of water. This places water at the forefront of energy production. This energy can be converted to various other forms of energy observed in development.

It is estimated that 22% of the world’s water is used in industry. From oil refineries to manufacturers, industries use water for landscaping, fabricating, diluting, cooling, laundry and processing. Industries make use of freshwater for this purpose as salt water may interfere with production.

Seeing that water essential in sustaining this development is threatened daily, conscious efforts have to be put in place to conserve water.

Renewable energy options such as solar, wind and geothermal energy use minimal amount of water compared to the conventional source (coal, nuclear). Water reuse/ recycling also help conserve water. Regulation and enforcement against water pollution through industrial, agricultural and household activities may help reduce waste and contamination of water. Addressing recycling of wastewater is important, so investments into waste water management will generate large returns that can create employment and reduce poverty thereby, sustaining development.



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