What is Water Shortage?

To emphasize the severity of water shortages both locally and on a global scale, it is necessary to inform the public of this startling statistic. Every continent around the world is affected, not just those regions that are traditionally dry. At least two billion people are affected for at least one month of the year. And more than 1 billion people have no access to clean drinking or potable water. Here is an extension of what water shortages entail and what it means to be without it.

  • There is a lack of necessary resources to meet current needs
  • Water shortages are also known as – water scarcity, water stress, water crisis
  • Apart from the lack of resources, there is difficulty in obtaining access to fresh water
  • Due to the lack of resources and access to water, further deterioration of existing resources occurs
  • Due to dry weather conditions, further depletion occurs
  • Pertinently, water shortages refers to regions’ existing unpolluted water being far less than its demand
  • A distinction needs to be made between what is in demand and what is reasonably needed

Clean water has become like a luxury for the people in places like sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the people spend entire day searching for it which limit their ability to try to their hand in some other things. By the year 2025, the situation may become worse when two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages.


Wikipedia defines water shortage/scarcity as,

Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet water needs within a region. It affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water. Water scarcity involves water stress, water shortage or deficits, and water crisis.

We all know that about 70% of the Earth is covered with water. Only 2.5-3% of this water is fresh. Rest of the water is salty and ocean-based. Of that 3% freshwater, two-thirds of that is trapped in glaciers and snowfields and is not available for our use. The rest one-thirds of that freshwater is available for human consumption and to feed the entire population on this planet. As a result, freshwater – the water that we drink, take bath is rare and makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet.

The global problem of water shortages needs to be highlighted and re-emphasized over and over again until such time that everyone is fully aware of this and does their part to responsibly save water, even in areas where it is perceived that there are already sufficient supplies of water. To further the cause of this awareness, this short but extensive article provides readers with an informative but easy to understand explanation of what water shortage entails.

It begins by describing what is meant by water shortage. It then moves on to highlight the critical causes of this. Following that, to highlight the need to move towards conserving water, it features some of the effects and severe consequences of water shortages. Ending the article on a positive note, solutions to addressing these shortfalls are highlighted. The structure of this note is more informational than anything else. Motivations for curbing excessive water use occur on a daily basis. Helping to raise awareness also means educating the public by dispensing important information.

Some of the Main Causes of Water Shortage

Environmentalists and small-scale activists these days have field days naming global warming and climate change as the root cause for the world’s water shortages. But this analogy is not entirely correct. What also needs to be examined is what is causing global warming and the current climate crisis today. This next list highlights the main causes of water shortages around the globe.

  • Excess and unnecessary demands outstrip available and scarce resources
  • There is overuse of water across the board and in all forms of industrial processes
  • Non-sustainable domestic practices such as leaving taps running when water is not needed and needs to be stopped
  • Economic scarcity caused by poor or lack of management of existing water resources
  • Uneven distribution of water resources – regions that have excess supplies do not divert resources to areas where it is needed more
  • Aquifers over-pumped and not re-charging quickly enough
  • Fair access to land presents challenges of conflict where many people are restricted or denied access to land, whether privately or government owned, and on which precious water resources may be found
  • The challenge of distance remains acute in some parts of the world where regions have historically experienced dry climates and have had to rely on neighboring countries to supply them.

Effects and Severe Consequences of Water Shortages

To emphasize the severity of water shortages it is incumbent to highlight some of the many effects and consequences of this. This list is as broad-based as it can be right now, from chronicling how it impacts domestic life to the global picture referred to as a tipping point when seen in relation to rising temperatures.

  • Water restrictions imposed across the board
  • Poorer communities and informal settlements still lack access to potable water systems
  • Negative impact on greening and domestic gardening initiatives due to water restrictions
  • Increased fire hazards
  • Water tariffs and/or prices increased across the board
  • Particularly in drought-stricken areas, farmers unable to produce vital crops
  • Global increase in temperatures further exacerbates water shortages
  • Mainly due to both lack of access and poverty, disease is the sum consequence. Clean water is needed to revive and sustain the human body while polluted river beds near informal settlements are the breeding ground for malevolent diseases
  • Added to this severe lack of water resources comes the problem of basic sanitation needs being exacerbated
  • A lack of education and access to all other areas of life has also been added as severe consequences to not having access to water


Solutions to the Problem of Water Shortage

The good news is that there are always solutions to our problems

This much would seem obvious. The less water that is used and the more water that is saved will go a long way towards addressing the current shortages. But for solutions to be effective, they need to be implemented vigilantly and even through regulation. This next list considers both practical solutions and those being implemented in different parts of the world.

  • Do not keep taps running while water is not needed – For example, switch the tap off while brushing teeth
  • Only use what is needed resourcefully – For example, when washing dishes, make sure that the sink is full
  • Obey water restrictions enforced – For example, do not use the hose pipe while washing the car
  • Increased water tariffs make consumers more budget conscious and deter them from using water excessively
  • Recycle used water as much as possible
  • More stringent regulation of industrial processes is required
  • Organic consumption across the board needs to be encouraged and prioritized. Organic production and consumption processes invariably lead to less water being used
  • Mining legislation and fracking needs to be revisited and taken more seriously by governments
  • Education from the ground up right through to the highest levels, both government and corporate are needed to raise awareness of the dire consequences of abusing scarce resources
  • More active involvement at NGO level, from the smallest contribution to a progressive and professional role is required from more people
  • Taking advantage of improved and advanced technologies to provide communities and cities with clean water is required
  • Clean water initiatives, usually promoted by NGOs and other active role players need to be supported and funded
  • Of great importance is the need to repair and improve existing sewerage systems

By now, if you weren’t aware before, you may now know just how critical our global water shortages are. We’ve done our part to present you with a more informational guide on what water shortage in essence means while others make more persuasive arguments on the side of water conservation. To follow up on our introductory description, we went on to mention some of the causes and effects/consequences of water shortages.

We had to close our article on a positive note. This proved encouraging. All we did was list just a number of solutions towards addressing the water crises. And it all started right with you in the home. This was done deliberately to show you just how easy it can be to do your part in reversing a global water shortage.

Image credit: pixabay , Oxfam


Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

Latest posts by Rinkesh (see all)