Water Resources: Conservation and Management
One of the greatest problems facing the planet is the management, conservation and equitable distribution of fresh water supplies. The fresh water sources may be lakes, rivers or ground water aquifers, most of which are now under stress.
Heron Instruments designs and manufactures groundwater monitoring equipment currently being used in conservation and management programs internationally.
Consider the following:
- 97% of the water on the planet is sea water.
- 2% is locked in as ice.
- 1% remains for our use.
- A human will live for around one week without fresh water.
- It takes 10,000 litres water to raise one pound of beef.
- It takes 300,000 litres of water to grow one acre of corn.
- It takes 250,000 litres of water to produce one ton of steel.
- It takes 156,000 litres of water to produce one car.
- It takes 6000 litres of water to produce one barrel of beer.
- Average water use per person in the US is 200 litres / day.
- Average water use per person in third world countries is 40 litres / day.
- Average water use in US per household is 400,000 litres / day.
- In the US, 17,000,000 households take water from private wells.
Source. EPA Office Of Water. 4601. EPA 810-F-95 001.
As can be seen from the above figures, domestic and human consumption are not the only contestants for the available water resources. Many industries consume large amounts of water to produce their products. In fact water is an essential component of any economy. It is possible that shortages of water might hinder the development of countries such as India and China. Shared water sources are increasingly becoming international irritants that may erupt into open conflict. The UN identifies many such areas in a world where 40% of the population live within 260 water basins shared by two or more countries.
Water is neither lost nor destroyed merely squandered or spoiled. The Earth has the same amount of water as it did during the age of the dinosaurs. The problem is distribution and pollution.
Global warming now enters the fray. Global warming appears to be a fact, based on historical records and geologic studies. The cause may be in dispute but the results currently are not. Increased global temperatures also mean increased evaporation. Increased evaporation will eventually mean increased condensation which is rain. This could translate to the dry areas of the planet becoming drier and the wet areas becoming wetter with increased rain fall intensity.
These are very large problems facing the planet. Solving these problems will require international cooperation on an enormous and unprecedented scale.
The conservation, management, allocation and distribution of water will become one of the most crucial endeavours of the 21st century.
Heron Instruments offers a full range of water level and conductivity meters that assist environmentalists, hydrogeologist's and engineers in there efforts to regulate and monitor the worlds water.