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May Yang

Professor Michael Flower

FRINQ - Life Unlimited?
19 November 2014

Decrease of Freshwater Available For Use

Freshwater scarcity is a big problem in many areas of the world and as time goes on, the
situation will steadily worsen because of the fast decrease of freshwater resource available in the world.
In this paper I will discuss why available freshwater is decreasing and how it is affecting the planet.
There is an increase of demand for freshwater and global freshwater resources are, and over time will
increasingly be a limiting factor in feeding the world.
Over the years, climate change has been a huge issue because of the impacts and threats that
could occur from it. Many researchers weigh heavily on the fact that the main cause of climate change
in our world today is because of human development and the activities we take part in. According to
Rockstrm, the author of A safe operating space for humanity, the period of stability, which is also
known as the Holocene, may now be under a threat due to the new era of Anthropocene, in which
human actions have become the main driver of global environmental change (Rockstrm 1). Since the
environment is changing due to human actions, one of the results of climate change is the decrease of
freshwater available for use. Water scarcity is an increasing problem because as the temperature gets
warmer, the rate of evaporation will impact the amount of water available for use. Freshwater resources
will become more limited and the sustainability for the future of humanity will become a challenge. In
the article, The Quadruple Squeeze: Defining the safe operating space for freshwater use to achieve a
triply green revolution in the Anthropocene, Johan Rockstrm and Louise Karlberg maintains that

Global freshwater resources are, and will increasingly be, a fundamental limiting factor in feeding the
world. Current water vulnerabilities in the regions in most need of large agricultural productivity
improvements are projected to increase under the pressure from global environmental change
(Rockstrm, Karlberg). This evidence shows that global freshwater will become a limiting factor and
that in the future, it may not be enough to help support the world. The environmental change is making
the atmosphere grow warmer and therefore causing climate change to decrease available freshwater.
Human activities affect the increase of climate change by instigating changes in the Earths atmosphere
in the quantity of greenhouse gases, aerosols, and cloudiness. The Earths planetary boundaries should
be respected in a way that nothing should change so that future generations will not have to suffer from
the growth of climate change and so that there wont be any sustainablity challenges that arise. If the
Earths planetary boundaries are maintained in normal conditions, then there wouldnt be any problems
with the decrease in available freshwater.
Because of the decline of freshwater available for use, some countries are not able to have
enough freshwater. It is becoming a very limited resource and its also the planets most valuable
resource because it is an essential life-sustaining element that cannot be substituted for anything else.
People need water to live and without water, humanity would not be able to function properly. In the
article, Between social and planetary boundaries: Navigating pathways in the safe and just space for
humanity, Melissa Leach, Kate Raworth and Johan Rockstrm writes that every humans well-being
should be protected and that each person should have equal access to the resources needed to meet
their human rights, such as food, water, health and energy. Just as there are planetary boundaries
beyond which lies environmental degradation that is dangerous for humanity, so too there are social
boundaries below which lie resource deprivations that endanger human well-being (Raworth, 2012)
(Leach, Raworth, Rockstrm 2). Anyone familiar with Raworth should agree that not only are planetary
boundaries a problem, but social boundaries are an issue too. Everyone should have the right to have
equal access to food, water and all of lifes necessities because thats how they should move forward in

their lives. People need basic things to live with and without basic necessities, it will be hard to
progress through life. If freshwater is constantly decreasing, then people will not gain access to fresh
water to drink or bathe from. In her article, Water use in LCA: managing the planets freshwater
resources, Annette Koehler maintains that water is essential for the human life and that freshwater acts
as the source of drinking water and the basis for hygiene and food supply. It is indispensable for
humans, while at the same time ensuring biodiversity and pivotal ecosystem functions on which
ultimately we all depend (Koehler). Koehler is right that freshwater is the main source for drinking
water and also hygiene and food supply, so its crucial to maintain the freshwater available in the world
today. Water cannot be replaced with anything else because there is nothing better or cleaner than water
itself. It is a resource that will be difficult to gain back once its lost, so people in this world today
should try to prevent the decrease of freshwater and to preserve it when they have it. The first step for
people to prevent the decrease of freshwater is to realize that the reason why freshwater is declining is
because of climate change. To prevent the climate from changing any further, people should become
energy efficient by using less electricity when its not needed and to commute by carpooling or by bike
so that greenhouse gas emmissions will reduce. If you cant carpool or bike, its best to invest in a
small and most fuel-efficent vehical possible.
Considering the fact that water is becoming more scarce in different areas of the world, the
decrease of freshwater resource is threatening to humanity because people dont gain access to safe
water to drink from and the it becomes a health issue. People without safe drinking water will get sick
from dirt and bacteria in the water and they only have that to drink because there is no fresher water to
drink from. Koehler mentions from her article that, We are witnessing a steadily worsening situation
of rapidly decreasing freshwater resource availability which threatens 1.1 billion people around the
globe lacking sufficient access to safe drinking water (UN 2006). Spreading water scarcity in many
regions of the world endangers food production . . . puts food security at risk, and burdens human
health due to malnutrition (e.g., in Asia and Africa) (Koehler). Freshwater is crucial for everyone to

live a healthy life because this water contains minerals that will cleanse your body and make you
hydrated. According to Koehler, the decrease of freshwater is worsening and will affect people all
around the world because they dont have access to clean freshwater. It will also jeopardize food
production and will mainly affect people from Asia and Africa because those countries dont provide
enough safe drinking water. Peter H. Gleick and Meena Palaniappan write in their article, Peak water
limits to freshwater withdrawal and use, that Freshwater resources are fundamental for maintaining
human health, agricultural production, economic activity as well as critical ecosystem functions. As
populations and economies grow, new constraints on water resources are appearing, raising questions
about limits to water availability (Gleick, Palaniappan). Gleick and Palaniappans point is that
freshwater is a resource that is necessary to live with because it helps maintain human health and food
production. Although freshwater resource is limited now, it is possible to improve on the well-being of
the climate and to lessen the decrease of freshwater use.
I believe that everyone should think more about the future and make it a better place to live in
for future generations. It would help if everyone participated in helping climate change decrease
because at this point, climate change is just going to get worse if no one is doing anything about it.
Even though there are lots of people that do want to change the climate, its not enough. The climate is
in a crisis and our planet will get worse if most people are just going to ignore it. The change in climate
is just going to cause sustainability issues in the near future and lots of basic necessities that humans
need will be a struggle to get ahold of, such as freshwater. Global freshwater is already decreasing
around the planet, so why continue to let it decrease even more? The quality of life would improve and
the planet would become a better place to live in if everyone pitched in to prevent further climate
Humanity would be in safe hands if the climate change steadily increases itself naturally instead
of having human activities exceedingly increase it. Although population growth increases greenhouse
gases, its normal for it to naturally increase. Long-term climate change can cause severe impact to

future generations to come. Since freshwater is an essential resource for humans, it cannot be
substituted with anything else and it is necessary to maintain human health at a nourishing and hydrated
state. The decrease of freshwater in the world today is an issue because there is a lack of physical
access to sufficient freshwater.

Works Cited

Gleick, Peter H., and Meena Palaniappan. Peak water limits to freshwater withdrawal and use. PNAS
107.25 (2010): 1115511162. pnas. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Karlberg, Louise, and Johan Rockstrm.

The Quadruple Squeeze: Defining the safe operating space

for freshwater use to achieve a triply green revolution in the Anthropocene. AMBIO 39.3
(2010): 257-265. link.springer. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Koehler, Annette. Water use in LCA: managing the planets freshwater resources. The International
Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 13.6 (2008): 451-455. link.springer. Web. 22 Nov. 2014.

Leach, Melissa, Kate Raworth, and Johan Rockstrm. Between social and planetary boundaries:
Navigating pathways in the safe and just space for humanity. World Social Science Report
(2013): 1-6. Print.

Rockstrm, Johan. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461 (2009): 472-75. Print.