A boy carrying water during 2016 water shortage in Zimbabwe. Image credit ibtimes.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Water:Water shortages

Water supply shortages both at household and national level could be reduced by:

  • Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient, available water resources to meet water needs within a region.
  • Water shortages are also known as water scarcity, water stress or water crisis.
  • It affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year.
  • More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.
  • Employing water saving technologies for example placing a brick in the toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water per flash, repairing all leaks, mulching trees and gardens will reduce water shortages.
  • Recycling used water.
  • Efficient use of water for example drip irrigation rather than flooding.
  • Empowering local communities, particularly women in managing their water resources.
  • Increasing vegetation cover to increase infiltration.
  • Introducing water rationing.
  • Do not keep taps running while water is not needed for example, turning the tap off while brushing teeth or using a cup.
  • Only using the amount of water needed resourcefully for example, when washing dishes, make sure that the sink is half full.
  • Obey water restrictions enforced for example, do not use the hose pipe while washing the car.
  • Increasing water tariffs this makes consumers more budget conscious and deter them from using water excessively.
  • Sustainable home living needs to be practiced, for instance, take short showers instead of long baths.
  • It is estimated that on average a person uses 45 litres of water to take a bath in a tub or 27 litres when one takes a shower; 110 litres to wash clothes, 20 litres for sanitation, 40 litres to cook, drink and wash household utensils and 10 litres per minute to water a lawn or vegetable garden in a day.
  • More stringent regulation of industrial processes is required
  • Organic consumption across the board needs to be encouraged and prioritized. Organic production and consumption processes invariably lead to less water being used.
  • Mining legislation and fracking needs to be revisited and taken more seriously by governments.
  • Education from the grass root level through to the highest levels, both government and corporate are needed to raise awareness of the dire consequences of abusing scarce resources.
  • More active involvement at NGO level, from the smallest contribution to a progressive and professional role is required from more people.
  • More sustainable farming practices need to be encouraged.
  • Taking advantage of improved and advanced technologies to provide communities and cities with clean water is required.
  • Clean water initiatives, usually promoted by NGOs and other active role players needed to be supported and funded.
  • Of great importance is the need to repair and improve existing sewerage systems.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page