Global water scarcity: Who will come to the rescue?

The largest gathering of world leaders came to a halt this December 2015 that was aimed at striking an ambitious deal on the effects of climate change. Climate change is a big cause for water scarcity around the globe. But let’s focus first things first. Many human beings across the world are facing inadequate access to water. In the USA for instance, the State of California has been worse hit by drought in the recent months due to shortage of rains. Having been born and raised in Kenya, I can attest to the shortage of water and its consequences to millions of people across the African continent not to mention other developing countries.

Going by the above facts, there is an urgent need to reason together and ask ourselves questions regarding the issue of water scarcity not only in Africa but across the world, as well. Human beings need water to survive and so are other living things and organisms. The big question is how is water useful to the living things across the globe? What actions do we need to take in order to ensure that these living things have adequate supply of water resources? You will bear me witness that water scarcity is contributed by many factors such as, demand for water, high rate of population, corrupt government institutions, lack of clear water policies, pollution and climate change to mention a few.

The issue of water is an issue that is close to my heart preferably because of my first-hand experience with the topic. As noted above, my personal view experience was not a smooth one. I was born and raised in a small town called Makueni in the eastern part of Kenya. Growing up in the village, we hardly had access to water- let alone clean water. We would go for days without taking a bath or washing clothes. The small quantity of water that was available was only reserved for cooking and drinking only. The water that was available for cooking was from rivers where our mothers would walk miles of distances away to go fetch it. I must admit that the water was not very clean and no one bothered to boil it before cooking or drinking.

Generally, it is not secret that there has been water scarcity not only in my home country Kenya but Africa as a whole for many decades now. Only a small percentage of the continent’s land is used for agriculture, with the rest of the year-round climate been arid. On the other hand, there are hardly any natural water resources that can provide equitable delivery of water to the many regions across the continent. It is devastating to note that , a majority of the people in this continent walk several miles of distances in search of water- many of them been women and children.

The above challenges of water lead to ask myself some mind boggling questions such as, is there anything that can be done to solve the issue of water in developing countries across the world once and for all? As much as I acknowledge that the water challenge is facing other developed countries like United States, we must admit that the water problem is majorly affecting a majority of developing countries. Population growth and economic development has also caused water shortage in many countries especially the developing countries across the world. As population grows, there is always an increase of demand for water. There is need for proper water management. According to the United Nations, water scarcity affects every continent.

The buck stops with the respective government institutions bestowed and mandated by the people with the responsibility of governance and policy making roles which are supposed to be geared towards providing the people with adequate access to water. Believe you me; most governments in Africa are faced with corruption. In each and every government, there are specific departments of water. These departments are supposed to play crucial roles of ensuring that they channel funds and monetary values towards providing access of water to the people. In my opinion, every government is supposed to dig wells, dams or boreholes that can generate water and serve its people. There are water supply and sanitation problems as well, that need to be addressed. Instead, the funds set aside for this purposes are channelled to people's pockets and none of the leaders are ready to account for the lost funds. Corruption in these governments is driving people to problems.

I must acknowledge the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands of individuals, and non-governmental organizations popularly known as NGOs that have been on the forefront of providing access to water to a majority of the people lacking this precious commodity. These organizations, have begun the process of funding many water projects by either developing and expanding the current water sources or investing to start new water projects such as digging boreholes and dams. With these initiatives, the people have resorted to doing small scale farming such as planting vegetables towards making a difference in their lives.

My position about water scarcity issue revolves around initiating real actions that will combat water scarcity around the globe. Here is why, for the world to make progress about the challenges and the scarcity of water facing many countries across the globe we have to accept that there is a problem. The problems include some of the above issues I have addressed above such as corruption in the water sector, climate change, agriculture, pollution and population growth and economic development. I believe that there can be tangible solutions to the problem of water scarcity. I can envision that there is need for addressing this issue. Nothing is impossible if we decide to incorporate experts, professionals, governments, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders alike in the water sector in order to address the water issue once and for all.

According to the United Nations, water scarcity is a real threat. At least 1.1 billion people lack access to water and 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation; most of these populations are in developing countries. The question here is, will these numbers decrease or will they keep increasing? What solutions can be taken to ensure that these people get access to water resources? Another important question I ask myself is, what can I personally do to use less water? I realized that the solution to water scarcity starts with me. I have to take measures such as reducing the amount of water I use for domestic use as well as fixing leaks both indoors and outdoors in the house.

Water scarcity affects all social and economic sectors. I insist that real solutions and actions are needed in order to address the issue of water crisis. The solutions ought to take into consideration factors such as development, supply, use and demand and an emphasis on the people and their livelihoods. There are millions of people today going without water in many parts of the world such as in Kuwait, China, South Africa, Kenya, United States, Peru, Mexico, Senegal- to mention a few. The causes of water crisis in these countries are well known to us and include among other things, pollution, demand for water, climate change, corrupt government institutions, high population growth and the list is endless. We cannot afford to give up on the issues that cause water scarcity. This calls for coming up with real solutions aimed at curbing water scarcity throughout the world. We can use technology to make water from air such as in the case of a Dutch Company making water from air. The idea is working because the company has had two prototypes in operation for two years, one in the Netherlands and the other in Kuwait, which are producing an average of 7,000 litres a day of water — without any electricity. The other solution is by cutting water usage such as in California where cities and water agencies are being required to cut water use by varying amounts ranging from 8 percent to 36 percent. Not to forget stabilizing or moving the overgrowing population of people. And lastly but not least, the work of encouraging more corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations to partner with existing organizations and various government agencies to continue making availability of water to those deserving around the globe.