Water Shortage the Biggest Environmental Concern on the Planet

According to the article written by Hurrell (2009), the shortage of water, as well as water pollution, are the issues that are posing a bigger danger to life on earth more than the issues of climate change as well as the fossil fuels basing on the survey carried out. According to the article, the global public survey by a network of international journalists, Circle of Blue, investigated the water usage as well as the views on pollution in fifteen countries.

This survey came up with results that indicated that water conservation and water management was seen to be the current world’s greatest environmental problem. This was even ahead of the issues of air pollution, climate change, and reduction of natural resources. This survey covered a thousand people in each of the fifteen countries that were under survey. The survey came at the same time as “World Water Week” in Stockholm. This survey found that 91 percent of the people contacted had much concern about the shortage in freshwater.

The survey results indicated that more than 50 percent of those interviewed accepted that there should beholding of the governments responsible regarding the provision of drinking water that is clean even if 78 percent of these people have a feeling that companies are supposed to offer some substantial help to deal with the issues that are surrounding. In China, there was a very minimal likelihood to bring about claims that individual citizens were to be held responsible.

According to the article, the opinions that are conflicting do exist among the nations on the most significant problems that those who use water encounter. Those people who were contacted in Mexico during the survey showed much more concern on the water for agricultural purposes but then those in India were concerned with the cost of water used for drinking. The director of “Circle of Blue”, Carl Ganter said that the survey indicated that all over the world the water concerns are approaching a critical degree of the consciousness of the people. He said that people have a belief that the most important environmental concern is water and this is a more pressing issue as compared with the issue of climate change.

This survey was carried out by a research firm known as GlobeScan. The vice president of this research firm said that the research gave a confirmation of the awareness of people and their knowledge about water being a very critical resource and at the same time confirming the people’s awareness and knowledge about the vitality of offering protection and carrying conservation of freshwater supplies.

The survey revealed that the level of water use per person was high in Canada as being among the countries investigated. In this country, the average amount of water used by the residents per day was 759 liters per person. This amount was ahead of the users in the United States of America that comes in second place where each person uses each day an average amount of 570 liters. Still basing on these statistics, Britain held the sixth position. This was a position behind the countries like Mexico, India, and Russia. However, India emerged to be the greatest water user generally and the percent amount of water used in agriculture was a lot in this country and accounted for 89 percent of the total amount.

It is estimated that over five million deaths do occur as a consequence of lack of drinking water that is safe and the estimates carried out by the United Nations project that more than five billion people will need sufficient access to fresh water in the coming twenty years.

Explaining the Issue in the article

This article points out the issue of water shortage being a major environmental concern all over the world in the current times. It centralizes on the survey carried out in fifteen countries in which a thousand people were interviewed in each regarding the issue of water shortage. There is an indication by the article that water shortages are affecting the countries that were under investigation which were representing the countries all over the world. This implies that water shortages are affecting the whole world. This issue of water shortages is turning out to be the biggest environmental concern all over the world.

For instance, taking the case in Australia, the problem of water shortage is turning out to be a major problem. Basing on the findings of the experts, there has been no water for agriculture in the last four years. These shortages in the water supply have affected the agricultural production in the region. The rice exports are reported to have gone down to 21,000 tons from a million tons. Food shortage brings about economic issues and these are beginning to hurt the major cities (Alexandrabarany, 2010).

At the global level, Australia is regarded as an initial indicator of the coming issues regarding the environment and therefore this issue of water shortages is a reaffirmation of several suspicions of consumption of water and its shortage (Alexandrabarany, 2010). The water shortage presents a fresh fear in which commodities like oil can be substituted by other sources of energy but this can not apply to water since water has no substitute.

All over the world, the experts give suggestions that water is becoming scarce due to the increasing demand for freshwater. More so, water pollution is on the rise and water consumption is now at a faster rate than it can be replaced (Foulkes, 2006). Much waste is being dumped in the water resources in developing countries. As a result of this, there has been a reduction in the capacity of critical water bodies. For instance, there has been a reduction in capacity by about forty-three percent of Lake Mead in summer in the year 2009.

Other than the social and environmental concerns, there are also other concerns like the economic concerns about water shortages. Such issues that are economic like the canceling of the commercial and residential developments came about as a result of lack of a stable supply of water. Taking the case in the southern part of the United States of America there will be laying-off of the farmers and this will cause a loss of about half a billion dollars while Australia has gone beyond a loss of 20 billion (Parris and Poincet, 2006).

According to Clark (1991), the problem of water shortage is not just affecting the developing countries but is affecting the developed countries as well. For instance, in developed countries, more water is needed for industrial activities. And in general terms, the more water is needed, the higher the likelihood of its shortage (Lean, 2009).

According to the article, the problem of water shortage is a major threat all over the world. It is even bigger than the problem of climate change and air pollution. This report indicates that the governments are supposed to be held responsible for giving out fresh water for drinking and it gives a case of China where there were claims that the citizens were not to be held responsible. This is true basing on the efforts carried out by the governments of the developed countries. For instance, according to Clark (1991), efforts have been made by the developed countries to form dams, pipe water, divert and channel the water and even change the course of the main rivers. They have made efforts to remove salt from seawater and carried out investigations about the economics of utilization of super tanks to deliver water just the same way this is done for oil. Such efforts by the governments help in dealing with the problem of water shortages.

However, the efforts carried out by the government will have to vary from government to government depending on its economic power. Those having a strong economic base will have to succeed in carrying out these water conservation and management practices but those with a weak base will have to encounter so many difficulties.

According to Alexandrabarany (2010), what is being asked is whether the reaction of people all over the world on the water shortage situation will involve countries becoming more active and coming up with better decisions concerning water issues or bringing about conflicts among the countries that need resources. However, evidence had revealed that most of the water disputes have come to a conclusion in cooperation but a smaller portion of these, about a quarter, were concluded in conflict. But there are those people who think that such co-operations are single-sided in the case where a particular country has a high influence economically or in terms of the military power, they are in a position to massively take all the resources to themselves and the countries that lack this level of power don’t get anything.

The article indicates that Canada is the leading water consumer in terms of per person water use. However, according to Alexandrabarany (2010), this problem of water shortage is all over the world and even Canada being among the richest countries regarding freshwater has experienced some change in water behavior. The increasing population of people is putting much pressure on the available water resources in terms of the increasing demand for freshwater.

More so, the report indicates that there are variations in opinions among the countries regarding the most significant problems facing people as consumers of water. The report indicates that in some countries like Mexico there is a concern for the use of water for agriculture but on the other hand concerns in a country like India are on the amount of money to pay for drinking water.

The article ends by indicating the actual main impact of the problem of water shortage where there is an indication that lack of clean drinking water causes about five million people to die each year, and presents the United Nation’s projection regarding the danger of lack of adequate availability of water that can affect the current population in future if nothing is done. This projection shows that in the coming twenty years, about 5.5 people will suffer from the lack of sufficient access to clean water. Such projections indicate the ever-increasing problem that is here to stay if nothing has to be done. Therefore, there is a great need for governments all over the world to consider what the appropriate measures could be for them to be taken to curb the problem of water shortage. The individual people could as well act in a manner that would support the governments to be able to deal with the problem most effectively.


This article has followed the scientific research methods in that the author gives a report basing on a survey that was carried out and gives the figures concerning what was obtained in the survey. The article as well states the actual number of people involved in the survey and the number of the countries in which the investigation was carried out. More so, the report tries to relate to other scientific findings that were obtained through research, though on a very minimal level. For instance, the article points out the projections made by the United Nations regarding the number of people who will be affected by water shortages in the future.

The article points out some new ideas regarding giving out the average actual figures of water consumption per day per person in the leading water consumer countries such as Canada, the United States of America, and India among others. The article also points the idea of having different opinions among the users of water in various countries about the problems they encounter such as the cost of water, the lack of water for agriculture among others.

However, as much as the article has tried to point out the issue of water shortage as being an environmental concern, it does not give out recommendations as to what the possible appropriate measures to be taken to curb this problem are supposed to be. The article mostly covers what the survey revealed and not what is supposed to be done. Basing on scientific research methods, after identifying the problem or problems, the measures to be taken are suggested.

More so, the article does not consider the actual causes of water shortage. To be able to effectively deal with any particular problem, one has to have an understanding of what causes the problem so that this cause be looked at keenly for it to be removed where possible or be made ineffective. The article would have expanded on the idea of what the major causes of water shortages around the world are to give a clear direction of what needs to be done on these causes for them to be rendered ineffective.


Alexandrabarany, (2010). Water Shortages. Web.

Clarke, R. (1991). Water: the international crisis. Earthscan Publications /MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts ISBN: 1853831050, 9781853831058

Foulkes, I. (2006). Water shortage ‘a global problem’. Web.

Hurrell, S. (2009). Water shortage the biggest environmental concern on the planet, says survey. Web.

Lean, G. (2009). Water scarcity ‘now bigger threat than financial crisis’. Web.

Parris, K. and Poincet, T. (2006). Water and agriculture: sustainability, markets and policies. OECD Publishing. ISBN: 9264022562, 9789264022560

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