Our planet earth is on the verge of destruction due to climate changes. Although we do not have a promising future on the other planets; still, we are taking Earth for granted. We need to invest and create awareness for its conservation. Earth has the mesmerizing potential of revitalization that should prioritize when initiating a new project. Climate change and water scarcity are the two significant concerns of the present and future, and both are strongly interlinked with each other.
Climate change is putting enormous stress on freshwater resources, and we are unable to manage the issue. On the other hand, measures to combat climate change demand for efficient management and use of water. If we talk about individual responsibility, then it has a lot to do with education and awareness. Awareness of the water crisis and climate change can invoke people in academia to devise and implement modern solutions to solve water and sanitation-related issues. We learned flying above the skies, but we are unable to solve problems on the ground.
Water, its wastage, and contamination is the concern of everyone nowadays. The human body itself is composed of 60% water, and it needs to rehydrate the cells and maintain the temperature of the body. Similarly, we need water for our day to day use. From washing hands to bathing and from any industrial process to cooking, everything demands water. Without whom our lives are inconsistent. Despite the inevitable demand for water, people do not know about its sustainable use. According to a report, the oceans contain 97.2% of water and cannot use without pricey treatment. Alone 2.8% is fresh water, from which 2.15% is in the form of glaciers and polar ice caps. Against 0.65% freshwater 0.5% is surface water and 0.3% is not economically extractable. Hence the available amount of fresh water is 0.35%.
Sustainable use of water can help us fight climate change
This idea might seem confusing, as we have always been discussing the impact of climate change on water resources. We talked about water scarcity but did not realize that efficient management of resources would help us prevent climate change.
Water and climate change are both inextricably linked with each other. Water vapor is itself a potent greenhouse gas. According to facts published by the University of Utah, USA, doing laundry from the warm water and using warm water for bathing purposes has significant contribution in causing global warming.
As per statistics, about 70% of the freshwater in the world uses for irrigation purposes. Instead of precious freshwater resources, wastewater can be utilized for irrigation purposes. The aim is to grow maximum crops by using minimum water. This wastewater, if treated by energy-intensive treatment methods, can contribute to global warming. Hence use of wastewater for irrigation is the best way to save energy, environment, and the cost. Wastewater can treat by cheap land disposal methods for irrigation after the primary or secondary treatment depending upon the designated use.
Energy Sector & water recourses
The energy sector has its significant contribution in causing climate change. From the extraction of groundwater to its treatment and supply, every step demands energy. Now from which resource this energy is generated is another topic of debate. Energy conservation from saving water is significant. According to the research conducted in Center for Water-Energy Efficiency at the University of California, Davis, a quantity of electricity saved statewide through reducing urban water use by 25% in 2015 was roughly equivalent to all of the electricity saved by all of the energy efficiency programs from the state’s four major investor-owned energy utilities in 2015.
Less water use would lead to less wastewater generation. Declined wastewater generation would lead to less treatment and hence low environmental footprint. The problem of water has not been as grim as it is today. It is due to individual negligence and irresponsibility towards the use of resources. According to the data released by the UN-Water association, around 80% of the world’s wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without any treatment. On the other hand, the lack of adequate water affects 2 billion people worldwide. As the effects of climate change have become more prevalent, water stress has increased to an overwhelming point than from the past decade.
Sustainable Development Goal no.6 calls for restoration of water-related ecosystems and investment in the development of sanitation infrastructure to inhibit the danger of water-related diseases. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 3.4 million people die each year due to diseases caused by water pollution.
Sustainable water resource management is a powerful tool in the battle against climate change. Like, rainwater harvesting is the best strategy to mitigate the climate effects of water extraction, treatment, and distribution. Rainwater harvesting is a straightforward and most tangible solution to solve the water & energy crisis. Still, most of the people in the developing world are not aware of this engineered method of water storage and reuse. Creating public awareness and hence saving your water at the household level is a potent weapon against this fight.
Wetlands are natural water treatment systems and serve as carbon sinks in the environment, but it is reported that 70% of the wetlands have gone lost.
Mangroves forests are natural defense mechanisms against flooding. Climate change causes floods due to rising sea levels. Floods destroy water and sanitation infrastructure and cause water-related diseases as floods to carry sediments, sewage, and toxins with them. Water can help fight climate change. Water has excellent potential in this entire world to save the planet. Wetlands, which are excellent natural systems of treating wastewater, can absorb tonnes of CO2 in it and hence help in carbon dioxide sequestration.
Storing water through engineered and cost-effective ways promise us a good future when we talk about water scarcity. Stormwater management is one solution to offer when we come to solve our water crisis. Permeable pavements have much to offer for a future of water. Due to improper planning and lack of public knowledge, pavements are designed in such a way to create more runoff and less groundwater recharge.
Greywater accounts for up to 75% of the wastewater volume produced by the household have a high potential for recycling and reuse for non-potable purposes. Installing cheaper filters to treat this water can solve the problem. Industries should have to become very environmentally responsible for reducing their water footprint.
According to the World Health Organization, around 2.3 billion people lack essential sanitation services. Closing all the open defecation sites and provision and awareness of sanitation services can help save the freshwater resources from contamination. Environmental and public health awareness, building scalable water and sanitation solutions are critical for saving planet earth and its environment.
The Dynamic and Energetic team Scientia.