As we deal with water shortages, we’ll need to get creative. One helpful piece of technology is atmospheric water generation research, which draws water out of thin air! Using technology similar to a dehumidifier, AWG collects the tiny water particles that float in the air around us. However, there’s a catch— this technology requires a lot of energy.
According to The Water Crisis website, 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water. In this World Water Development Report, we can expect this problem to get worse. Demand for water is going up at the same time that an increasing number of water supplies are becoming contaminated. To address this crisis, it is important to consider not only what human activity uses the most water worldwide, but also what power dynamics play into that water use. As is the case with most environmental issues, water shortages and contamination disproportionately impact poor communities, communities of color, and formerly and currently colonized people. This disparity is no accident. Polluters leave toxins in marginalized communities, contaminating their water supplies. Wealthy nations divert water from poor ones.
Droughts bring with them many social ills. Crops and livestock die, creating famines. Wildfires become deadlier and more destructive. In this Youth Climate Story: Drought in California lesson plan a teenager talks about the impacts he and his family have felt due to long-term drought in the state. Scarcity breeds political conflict and war. We have no choice but to transform human uses of water-- to treat it like the precious resource that it is. Making these changes will require both individual and collective actions. We can combat the global water crisis, individually and together. Want to learn more about what human activity uses the most water and other big environmental questions?