Water Resources

All life on Earth owes its existence to water. Without water, life on Earth as we know it could simply not be sustained. Therefore, water is clearly one of our most precious and valuable resources. So, why does it seem we’re running out of it? First of all, it’s important to take into account that 97.5% of all water on Earth is salt water. Of the remaining fresh water portion, over 2/3 is frozen in our glaciers and polar ice caps. The majority of the rest is found in surface water. Water found in rivers, lakes, or freshwater wetlands is considered surface water. These sources are naturally regulated by evaporation and run off into bodies of salt water, and replenished by rain and snowfall. There is also fresh water found below the surface of the Earth in the pore space of soil and rocks. Although fresh water is technically a renewable resource, the global supply of clean, fresh water is steadily being depleted. In many parts of the world, the demand for water simply exceeds the supply. As the world population continues to increase, it is expected that many other nations will encounter water shortages in the near future. While the likelihood of climate change increases, so does the risk of increased water depletion. Rising temperatures may interfere with the Earth’s natural hydrologic cycle, causing more evaporation and subsequent precipitation in regions that deviate from normal climatic patterns. This could lead to storms and floods in some parts of the world, while other parts experience droughts.