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Water is one of the most important commodities that supports life on earth but very few understand how hard it is to get clean, potable freshwater. Water, in all its forms, covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface. The water levels on Earth remain relatively the same each year. Every day, water goes through a cycle that sees it flow from land, to the seas and then evaporates into the atmosphere through the processes of evaporation and precipitation.
How Much of Earth’s Water is Fresh?
About 98% of all water on Earth is in the seas. Fresh water makes up under 3% of all water on earth, and nearly 65% of this drinkable water is tied up in glaciers. Rivers, streams, lakes, and dams that hold freshwater contain 1% of potable water while groundwater accounts for 0.3%.
Potable water is essential for all life forms to thrive. Every life form is made up of more than 60% water. The feasibility of life is determined mainly by the ability of every living organism to access fresh water, which is not equally distributed on Earth.
How Does Climate Change Impact Drinkable Water?
Although the levels of clean, potable water do not vary significantly year after year, climate change is currently changing the rules about how much potable water we’ll have access to. Climate researchers have foreseen more floods and droughts and have warned of changing rainfall patterns, and water related calamities will become less predictable and more severe.
As the constraints of delivering fresh potable water where it is needed becomes more clear, governments, farmers, communities and associations such as Southeast Desalting Association (SEDA) are coming up with ways to purify and recycle water.
Creating More Potable Water
The benefits of creating potable water through reverse osmosis and other membrane processes is another development in water management and is more about creativity, and advanced scientific ideas than it is about pipelines, pumps, and dams.
Using membrane water treatment technology to make potable water means that we can still have a future in which all water needs are met, ecosystems are kept healthy and all living organisms stay healthy, even with climate changes. Please contact Harn R/O Systems to learn more about how membrane technology can help us meet our ever-growing water needs.
There is the same amount of freshwater on earth as there always has been, but the population has exploded, leaving the world’s water resources in crisis.
A Clean Water Crisis
The water you drink today has likely been around in one form or another since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, hundreds of millions of years ago.
While the amount of freshwater on the planet has remained fairly constant over time—continually recycled through the atmosphere and back into our cups—the population has exploded. This means that every year competition for a clean, copious supply of water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and sustaining life intensifies.
Water scarcity is an abstract concept to many and a stark reality for others. It is the result of myriad environmental, political, economic, and social forces.
Freshwater makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70 percent of the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is fresh. The rest is saline and ocean-based. Even then, just 1 percent of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields. In essence, only 0.007 percent of the planet’s water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people.
Surface water is any body of water that is on the earth’s surface: lakes, rivers, streams, and reservoirs. 80% of the world’s daily water usage comes from surface water and makes up the majority of the water used for irrigation and public supply. Oceans are the world’s largest source of surface water and make up 97% of it, but due to its high salinity, it is unusable for humans (Postel, 2010)
The earth’s surface waters travel through a complex network of flowing rivers and streams. Rivers can obtain their water from two sources: base flow and runoff.
Due to geography, climate, engineering, regulation, and competition for resources, some regions seem relatively flush with freshwater, while others face drought and debilitating pollution. In much of the developing world, clean water is either hard to come by or a commodity that requires laborious work or significant currency to obtain.
Water Is Life
Wherever they are, people need water to survive. Not only is the human body 60 percent water, the resource is also essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy.