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Water Scarcity

A long time ago, the idea that the worlds water resources would someday dry up seemed like a very distant problem that would not affect our generation. However, that problem we thought was just a myth is quickly catching up with us. Today, already 780 million people do not have access to clean drinking water (Collins, 2013). In a few decades there may be no access to water at all if we dont find solutions to the current water shortage problem. According to a report by the United Nations University department on water, water demands already exceed supplies in regions with more than 40% of the worlds population (Agricultural Water Management, 2013). The report also explains that in just 12 years people around the world could face a problem of water scarcity, which means there will not be enough water for people. There are many reasons why the world is quickly running out of water. Some of the reasons include contamination of surface water by pollution, not sharing water resources between countries, not properly managing rain water preservation and of course climate change which is affecting the amount of rain fall in some countries. It is important to understand that water isnt only needed for drinking, it is needed for agricultural and sanitation purposes. Bangladesh is one of the countries that is suffering the most from the water crisis. Bangladeshs water problem is a very serious and challenging one. Bangladesh has a geographical problem as well. Over 140 million people live in low land areas and floods from monsoons contaminate the water (WaterAid Global). Natural arsenic mixes with the water and many people get poisoned and die. When people drink this unclean water they become sick and get diseases. According to WaterAid, a non-governmental organization, in Bangladesh water related diseases cause almost a quarter of deaths that happen among children. Another problem Bangladesh faces is poor communication with its neighboring countries about sharing water. Bangladeshs rivers originate in other countries like India for example. Past political problems between the countries are stopping them from solving the water crisis together.

Also, to make the problem worse, India is planning to build a dam in the Barak river to allow water to reach other parts of India. According to Dr Si Khan, a former UN water expert, If India implements the project, the downstream Meghna river will lose its water flow and the country will gradually turn into desert amid acute water crisis," he said in an article published by (The Daily Star, 2010). The Meghna river is one of the rivers that Bangladesh depends on for its water. Bangladesh is also one of the countries already directly affected by climate change. Experts predict that climate change will increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters (UNICEF, 2009). In 2007 and 2009, people in south-west Bangladesh were hit by major cyclones which caused the ponds they use for water to be flooded instead with saltwater. The case in Bangladesh is not hopeless. Ground water contaminated with salt is ruining tubewells and drinking water. To help, UNICEF is installing pond-sand filters to make sure the water is safe to drink. Water passes through a sand chamber, which removes bacteria. Locals clean the filters biweekly. Many villagers rely on the pond for drinking water so filters are a good way to make sure their drinking water is clean so they dont get diseases or diarrhea which kills 50,800 children a year in Bangladesh according to a 2009 UNICEF report. Another solution is to install rainwater tanks that will collect fresh rain water. Since water from tubewells cannot always be used because of the salt, tanks are useful because the water can be saved for future use and can be used only for drinking to prevent people from getting water related diseases and diarrhea. Similarly, UNICEF is also working on methods to refill aquifers in the country during the monsoon season to direct freshwater underground and replace the salt water. Finally, a global solution to the water crisis for all countries is to research methods to treat wastewater for non-drinking purposes. This year is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation and according the official website, water for irrigation and agricultural use is one of the biggest reasons why freshwater resources will run out. Wastewater, if treated properly, could be used for irrigation and agricultural purposes instead of using groundwater that could be used for drinking.

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Diarrhoea: why children are still dying and what can be done. (2009). Retrieved Nov 04, 2013, from UNICEF/WHO: http://www.unicef.org/media/files/Final_Diarrhoea_Report_October_2009_fi nal.pdf Severe water crisis within next two decades, say experts. (2010, Aug). Retrieved Nov 04, 2013, from The Daily Star: http://archive.thedailystar.net/newDesign/newsdetails.php?nid=151768 United Nations University. (2013, sep). Retrieved Nov 05, 2013, from World lacks data on wastewater reuse: http://inweh.unu.edu/rising-reuse-wastewater/ Bangladesh. (n.d.). Retrieved Nov 04, 2013, from WaterAid Global: http://www.wateraid.org/where-we-work/page/bangladesh McNamara, S. (2012, Apr). Solving the water crisis in climate-ravaged Bangladesh. Retrieved Nov 03, 2013, from UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/media_6207.htm Millions lack safe water. (n.d.). Retrieved Nov 05, 2013, from Water.org: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/ United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. Facts and figures. (n.d.). Retrieved Nov 05, 2013, from UN: http://www.un.org/en/events/worldwateryear/factsfigures.shtml