Changes in World Water Supplies Over the Last Decades

When you read about world water supplies the information presents a very grim picture for many countries. There is a lot of talk about global warming and it is a hotly debated topic. But the truth is that whether or not you believe it is a fact, the warming of the earth’s surface is leading to significant chances in rainfall patterns.

Global warming is a term used to describe the increase in the earth’s average temperature. In the last 100 years, the surface temperature of the earth has risen by 1 degree Fahrenheit or.8 degrees Celsius. That may not sound like a lot but it has led to major changes in where and when rain falls. It has also led to some melting of the polar glaciers which also changes the sea level. When sea levels change, rainfall patterns change too.

Thirsty World

When the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, addressed a forum in January 2008 on the availability of clean and safe water, it quickly became clear there are many parts of the world where water is a scarce resource. Places such as the Middle East and North Africa, parts of China, India and Australia are experiencing droughts which are expected to get worse. Australia, for example, has experienced a 30 year drought due to warm ocean currents and it is not expected to end anytime soon.

The United Nations presentation made many people much more aware that the changes in world water supplies over the last decades is producing a serious shortage of safe drinking water in many nations. In China the Yangtze River does not even have enough water to reach the sea any more. The many people who rely on the river for potable water and irrigation are at risk, because in the next 10 years there may not be enough water in the river to support the populations.

Up to one-third of the United States and one-fifth of Spain is dealing with a shortage of water. The polar glaciers are melting and causing climate changes in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Major river tributaries around the world are drying up and even normally dry countries are getting drier. A drought in Africa in the 1980s and 1990s led to the decimation of up to 60% of African herds. Countries such as Israel and many Arab nations face severe water shortages.

The World Health Organization reports there are currently 1.1 billion people in the world right now who do not have access to adequate water supplies. Rain water tanks are being used in many areas as an inexpensive and practical way to collect rain that does fall. The prediction is that there will be up to two-thirds of the world lacking clean water by the year 2025.

A Dry Australia

Australia is normally dry which is why there is a large arid interior. But global warming and El Niño, a warm ocean current, have exacerbated the problem. With the changes in the climate have come changes in the rainfalls. In some cases there is actually more rain, but it comes in more intense and brief rainfalls. Global warming has resulted in rainfall that is not evenly distributed in either Australia or around the world.

It is going to take a coordinated world response to the rainfall changes in order to insure people have access to enough water. Australians have been proactive by developing solutions such as rainwater tanks, which collect rain water when it does fall, for later use. It is predicted that the tank water collections systems will one day be a major source of even potable water as the drought continues. Installing a rain water tank now will prepare you for whatever rainfall changes happen in the future.