The Importance Of Water Essay

2396 words - 10 pages

The world faces an unprecedented crisis in water resources management with profound implications for global water supply, industry developments, agricultural production, protection of human health, and maintenance of aquatic ecosystems. Water shortages threaten to reduce global food supply, while the world’s population grows by 80 million people each year. With current trends, by 2025, one-third of all humans will face severe and chronic water shortages. The sustainable extraction level for many water resources is slowly exceeding acceptable benchmarks which can have detrimental environmental consequences. This is already evidenced by reduction in current water quality and growing threat on ...view middle of the document...

This is done by way of particular company products and services. The water used generally needs to be of high quality. In a range of industries including: beverages, chemicals, energy, construction, and metals, water is a key part of the manufacturing process. Alike the aforementioned industry units, water is also used to cool and heat installations and is a key product ingredient of which it is consumed, reused, processed, transformed and discharged.

The vast majority of fresh water is used in agricultural production. Although industry developments consume a large amount of total water use it is agricultural production which utilises nearly three times this amount at 70 percent. This is due to agricultural crops being so dependent on water, irrigational methods are used to increase agricultural production.

Groundwater resources for irrigation are particularly vulnerable to contamination. Animal wastes, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides can result in poor water quality and increase water salinity, which can impose significant costs on agricultural users (Roberts et al. 2005).

Over the past century human development has seen the spread of large scale agriculture, rapid growth of industrial development and the growing urban sprawl of cities (Hinrichsen, 2003). However we have not extensively weighed up the impact of these developments on our environment and other animal species.

Impacts on environment and other species

As more and more water is withdrawn from wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes and aquifers to feed thirsty fields and the voracious needs of industry and escalating urban demands, there is often little left over for aquatic ecosystems and the wealth of plants and animals they support (Hinrichsen, 2003). Essentially habitat destruction, water diversions, pollutions are all contributing to the sharp declines in freshwater biodiversity. The water needs of nature and wildlife are often the first to be sacrificed and last to be considered. The over-allocation and subsequent overuse of river systems has left many of Australia’s water resources under significant pressure. Of Australia’s 325 surface water basins, 84 are predominantly under pressure due to climatic changes in the weather (dryer days) and consistent over use (Roberts et al. 2005). These systems account for 55 percent of total water use in Australia, with the Murray Darling showing the greatest signs of pressure (Roberts et al. 2005). The Murray Darling basin produces one third of Australia’s food supply and supports over a third of Australia’s total gross value of agricultural production. It is home to many different plant and animals, with at least 35 endangered species of birds, 16 species of endangered mammals and over 35 different native fish species, already 20 species of mammals have become extinct (Australia Natural Resources Atlas, 2009 & Murray Darling Basin, 2010). Not only is freshwater important for our natural habitats, but...

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