Essay 4 - Michael Knutson Tillotson 19 October 2010 ESRP...

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Michael Knutson Tillotson 19 October 2010 ESRP Section 8 Essay 4 Over 50 percent of the human body, and 70 percent of our planet Earth is comprised of water. All forms of life rely on water for survival, but terrestrial life--including humans--is only concerned with a small portion of this abundant resource. Just three percent of Earth’s water is fresh, two thirds of which is frozen in the polar ice caps, rendering only a fraction of a percent available for drinking, irrigation and industrial use (1). As a result of scarcity and competition, the control of clean, drinkable water has been a source of conflict throughout human history. Though many areas of the world have produced answers--in the form of aquifers, dams, and reservoirs--to disperse the availability of water, these solutions are only temporary and are absent in large portions of the world’s population. Today, an estimated 1.2 billion people drink unclean water and about 2.5 billion lack proper toilets and sewage systems (1). Around the world, espe- cially in India, the rate at which the groundwater stocks are shrinking, has more than doubled in the last 50 years (3). The once solved problem of water availability, has resurfaced due to ineffi- ciencies and wastes. There are a couple major issues facing the human race, regarding water shortages: how to contain and store the water Mother Nature provides us, how to efficiently use and thus conserve the finite quantity of our most vital resource, and finally, how to keep this re- source sanitary enough to use (3). In the United States, most of us are exposed to very little of the water shortage problems; however, Americans contribute to these problems every day. Though we rarely face contamina- tion or storage problems, we inefficiently use and waste water on a grand scale. The average American uses 101 gallons a day, pumped directly to household faucets and toilets (1). Needless to say, this is far more water than any human needs; therefore, much of it goes to waste. On the other end of the spectrum, many third-world countries experience monsoon seasons that bring 70 to 80 percent of the year’s rainfall in just 3 months. The problem of long drought periods is com- pounded by flash floods that cause rivers to overflow and expel into the sea, further wasting freshwater (2). In fact, every year, two thirds of the water in Earth’s rivers rushes untapped to the sea due to floods (2). Parts of Africa and India face the problem of freshwater scarcity, especially in regards to containment and sanitation. In South Africa, 7 million people lack access to clean water within 200 yards of their home (1). In the Ladysmith region, 85 percent of blacks lack
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2012 for the course ESRP 101 taught by Professor Kathryntilotson during the Fall '10 term at Washington State University .

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Essay 4 - Michael Knutson Tillotson 19 October 2010 ESRP...

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