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Global Water Issues

Global water issues is a topic which describes how access to clean and fresh water, a critical resource, is not a universal reality. This is a major issue in developing countries especially, where a majority of the population has limited access to an adequate water supply due to poor infrastructure. As the world population continues to rise, the demand for freshwater will increase and this is will outstrip the water which is globally available.  

In terms of where water exists on the planet, the ocean holds about 97.5% of the globe's water, with the remaining 2.5% existing as freshwater. From this freshwater percentage, 79% is held within ice caps and glaciers, 20% exists as groundwater and a mere 1% is available surface water. This available surface water exists within lakes, as soil moisture, in rivers, within living organisms and as water vapour in the atmosphere. These statistics illustrate that in the grand scheme of things, there is not a large supply of freshwater on this planet and an even smaller proportion which is available for human use.

Water is an essential resource for basic human needs: drinking, hygiene and cooking.  In order for water to be of an appropriate quality to fulfill these needs, it needs to be both free of biological containments (free from water-borne diseases) and free from chemicals. Unfortunately, water-borne diseases are a serious issue in some areas of the world and this illustrates that a large proportion of the population only has access to unsafe potable water.  Furthermore, water is also used for various large scale applications such as in agriculture and for generating energy.

Global water issues are a serious concern today, especially as critical water sources, such as some fresh water aquifers, are drying up and water shortages are becoming more common across the globe. Without a doubt, water is one of the most important resources humans depend on. Thus, understanding how to protect the world’s water supply and the natural ecosystems which supply freshwater is of critical importance. 



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