~~ CRP 109 - Assignment 3 - CRP 109.01 - Assignment #3...

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CRP 109.01 - Assignment #3 Literature Review Water Scarcity Water, known to scientists as dihydrogen monoxide (H 2 0), is the most abundant resource on Earth. It surrounds the seven continents, freezes to maintain the polar ice caps, rains down on our lands, floods river valleys in the springtime, and does so much more. How could there ever be a shortage of such a plentiful resource? As shocking as it may seem, there is a lack of water across the globe today. Water scarcity is a very real issue, and there are a multitude of factors that contribute to water shortages. The issue of scarcity begins with the amount of potable water found on the Earth. It is common knowledge that most of the Earth’s surface is made of salt water. Also, it is a widely accepted fact that salt water is useless for organisms that require fresh drinking water, including humans. According to Postel, Daily, and Ehrlich, “fresh water constitutes only ~2.5% of the total volume of water on Earth,” and much of that is unobtainable because it is either uneconomical to produce, or it frozen in locations inaccessible to humans (785). This means that a mere 0.77% percent of water found on Earth is potable, or about 10,665,000 km 3 (Postel et al 785). Approximately eleven million km 3 of water may seem like a lot of water, and it surely is, but not all of that is accessible to humans. David Seckler, Upali Amarasinghe, David Molden, Radhika de Silva, and Randolph Barker all estimate that a mere 9,000 km 3 to 14,000 km 3 of water can be controlled by humans (3). This number remains about the same overtime because
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the four sources of water, the net flow of water, changes of storage, runoff, and desalination processes, also remain about the same (Seckler et al 3-4). So what is the problem? The increasing global population plays an enormous role in the amount of water that is utilized. Between 1990 and 1995 the population of the world grew 4,400 million people (Gleich, “Changing” 6). An exponentially increasing population all withdrawing from a constant quantity of water spells disaster. Sooner or later, the number of people will far exceed the amount of water available and death will ultimately be the result. According to Peter Gleich, every human has a right to water (Water Brief 2, 204); however, if populations continue to grow out of hand, ensuring everyone has such a right would be an impossible feat and would be the least of global
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2008 for the course CRP 109 taught by Professor Driskell,david during the Fall '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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~~ CRP 109 - Assignment 3 - CRP 109.01 - Assignment #3...

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