Conflict or Cooperation over Water 4

Conflict or Cooperation over Water Part III

Urbanization and modernization have increased household consumption of water, and in many areas, obtaining sufficient water for people in big cities has become a major problem. The use of water in the home is perceived as a measure of prosperity development (shower, toilet, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.). In other words, a city dweller is more water-intensive than one who lives in the countryside. Soleis, the percentage of those who have clean drinking water and proper sanitation, is greater in the cities than in the countryside. 2 out of 10 without clean water cage in villages.

In 2010, 64 major cities had more than 5 million inhabitants; 16 had more than 15 million inhabitants. Byauken will make enormous demands not only on the supply of water (and sewage), but also on technology and social distribution. Large cities require long supply and drainage lines, a lot of water and good administration and distribution. A lot of water is lost in pipes that leak.

7: Pollution of water

Pollution of water is not something new and has not been perceived as a problem only in modern times. But it is only with the industrialization and use of fertilizers in agriculture that the problem has taken on global and looming dimensions. The supply of water is reduced by deteriorating water quality. In 2008, 2.6 billion people lacked sufficiently good sanitation, while close to 900 million lacked clean water.

Pollution costs : Diseases related to unclean water (malaria, diarrhea, cholera…) alone cost around 3 million people a quarter of a year; close to 5,000 children die every day and before the age of five as a result of such diseases. Of these, diarrhea alone accounts for close to 4,000. Unclean water also costs in the form of absence from work and school and reduced ability to work.

Put another way: Pureer water provides greater resilience. Every dollar invested in better water supply and better sanitation will cost 4-12 dollars (UN report). When more than 80 per cent of the sewage in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and seas, it is self-evident what kind of contagion bomb can be found there. At any given time, almost half of all people living in developing countries are plagued by health problems due to a lack of water and sanitation services.

In the big cities in the industrialized countries, investments have been made in large treatment plants, so that the inhabitants of London can use the same water from the Thames eight times. Of the 50 million people who live in the Rhine catchment area, 20 million of them purify Rhine water. Water quality can be affected, but it requires something many countries have little of – money.

What is a shortage of water for the individual – how many liters are needed for one to talk about a shortage of water? One who lives in an area rich in precipitation will probably have completely different perceptions of what water shortages are, than one who lives in an area with little precipitation. In the same way, people in developed countries will have different preconceptions about shortages than people in developing countries, and one who lives in a city has a different view than one who lives in the countryside.

  • What do we mean by lack of water?
  • What does it mean to say that water is a resource that crosses borders?
  • What can be done to counteract the shortage of water?
  • What is meant by more efficient use of water?

8: What is water shortage?

In the UN context, it is common to talk about water stress when the annual supply of water falls below 1700 m3 per person. There will be a shortage of water when the annual supply falls below 1000 m3 per person. UN figures say that in 2025, at best, about 50 countries will experience water stress and scarcity – about 3 billion people. The number can also be much higher. A person lacks access to clean water when they (within a radius of one kilometer) cannot fetch at least 20 liters of clean water.

Access to water is also affected by climatic conditions other than precipitation. In hot, dry areas, the atmosphere drinks more water (greater evaporation) than in cold, humid areas. The supply of water varies with years and seasons: Some years and months there is good rainfall and surplus water, in others there is a shortage.

The water situation (quantity and quality of water) represents a material barrier or a physical boundary for a country’s development, because development and economic growth require increased consumption of water. One may ask whether, for example, China can ever reach Canada’s level of development. According to, Canada and China are about the same size in area and have almost the same amount of precipitation, both in total and per area unit. However, the Chinese population is 40 times larger. A Chinese person thus disposes of only a fraction of the water a Canadian can use. The big difference of course only gives a clue – different distance between settlement and water source will reduce the difference. How well or badly equipped is water-poor Jordan to become a developed country?

Conflict or Cooperation over Water 4

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