Conflict or Cooperation over Water 2

Conflict or Cooperation over Water Part II

The total footprint of water is ie. far greater than what we take out daily directly to drink, wash, etc. The highest was Turkmenistan – a country with extensive cotton cultivation. For the average American, in 2004 there was about 2483 m 3 of water; the average inhabitant of China about 700 m 3 per year. The world average was 1243 m 3 per year. In other words: Consumption varies greatly between countries. The factors that determine the footprint are the volume of consumption, consumption pattern (whether a meat or grain), climate (evaporation and more) and practice in agriculture (efficient use of the water reduces the footprint).

Water consumption is seen as a sign of modernization, urbanization and technological development. High consumption requires a high standard of living. It is also considered a sign of quality of life. With only a few liters per day, you can not wash yourself properly, maintain good hygiene, cook good enough food, etc. and at the same time have an economy where agriculture, industry and service industries flourish.

4: Why does consumption increase?

Between 1960 and 2010, the world’s population increased from 3 to almost 7 billion people . Many of the areas where the population is growing fastest are also the areas with the least water. When the abstraction of water is too large and the supply of water becomes increasingly scarce in parts of the world, it is a consequence of

  • strong population growth- just under 80 million quarterly
  • economic development- industrialization , urbanization and increasing individual requirements and consumption
  • pollution of water from agriculture, industry and transport – poorer quality of the water
  • Climate change increases evaporation and makes some areas drier. Experts blame climate change for 20 percent of the growing shortage of water in the world.
  • poor management and management of water consumption Lack of capital to invest in water supply and sewerage – in dams and pipelines.

In the last hundred years, global water consumption has increased more than twice as fast as the world population. Yes, in fact, consumption has tripled in the last 50 years.

5: More artificial irrigation in agriculture

In a long historical perspective, it is important to emphasize the profound changes that have taken place in our way of utilizing the lake in the last century. The production of agricultural goods is still mainly based on precipitation, but irrigation (artificial irrigation) means far more than before. The green revolution in agriculture has been very important in order to be able to feed an ever-growing world population. An important component of this revolution we find in the powerful increase in artificial irrigation. Without it, it would hardly be possible to feed the world’s population.

In 2005, according to, about 17 percent of the total agricultural area in the world was under irrigation. From here came close to 40 percent of the total crops. Globally, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of water consumption, in parts of the world for over 90 percent.

Some countries are completely dependent on irrigation. In Egypt, almost 100 percent of the area is lakes with water from the Nile. China, India and Pakistan have more than half of the total irrigation area in the world. The United States, Mexico, Australia and the territory of the former Soviet Union are other countries with a lot of irrigated agriculture. The most common is surface irrigation where a lot of water is lost on the way to the plants. Important exceptions to this waste in irrigation agriculture are Israel, California, Cyprus and parts of Europe where more modern, efficient and water-saving systems for artificial irrigation (hoses, drip irrigation, etc.) have been developed. Here less water is wasted under the irrigation.

6: Industrialization, urbanization and use of water

We live – in a global perspective – in the century of the industrial revolution . Industry needs water for energy production, for cooling (nuclear reactors use huge amounts of water for this), washing and removal of waste, etc. Much of the water goes back to the hydrological circle (the cycle to the lake), but is often polluted (as it also happens in agriculture).

In some countries, industry accounts for only five percent of water consumption, while other countries use up to half of their water for this purpose. A country that industrializes and urbanizes will therefore increase its need for water. One cannot walk around a modern city without being surrounded by goods produced with extensive use of water.

Industrialization and urbanization are intertwined. Globally, we therefore also live in a time of extensive urbanization. The cities are getting bigger, bigger and have more inhabitants. The part of the world’s population that lives in cities has grown dramatically – especially after 1945. In fact, more than half of the people today live in cities, and the number is rising . Household water still makes up a small part of the total water consumption. Most of the global freshwater goes to agriculture.

Conflict or Cooperation over Water 2

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