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The drastically changing climate patterns are affecting the world supply of potable water. In countries where global warming is producing droughts the results are easily seen. Rivers and lakes become dry and the water supply is drastically reduced. In areas where the result of climate change has been excessive flooding the water supplies become tainted. The tainted water is no longer safe to drink, bathe, or clean with and must be treated to become usable again. In both cases the overall amount of available water that is useable is being reduced and the reduction in supply is expected to become worse. The expectation is that with continued industrial development and pollution climate change will become more of a problem and these new weather patterns will exacerbate the shortage of water already being experienced around the world.
Along with the problems caused by global warming and the contamination from various sources of pollution, it is estimated that we could be out of safe drinking water for most of the world by the year 2080.
What areas are likely to be most affected?
While all areas of the world are expected to see a reduction in available water the places that will be most affected will be those countries with large populations and already limited water supply. Countries in Asia, with more than four billion people, are likely to suffer most from the reduced water supply.
What can be done?
The Kyoto Protocol has a number of measures that would help prevent environmental damage, protect water supplies, and reduce the causes that lead to global warming. Unfortunately the steps outlined in the treaty are not enough. Additionally some of the world’s greatest polluters, such as the United States, China, and India, did not sign the treaty and are not currently implementing the strategies that might reduce global warming and the future water shortage.
It will be necessary for governments to begin taking an active role in water conservation as well as implementing environmentally friendly policies.
How can you conserve water now?
Every time someone makes an effort to conserve water they are making a lasting difference. The only way to make sure that people around the world will have adequate access to clean water is if everyone begins doing their part to help conservation efforts. There are several things you can do to limit the amount of water you use on a daily basis.
· Turn the water off while you brush your teeth.
· Limit your shower time to five minutes.
· Use a dishwasher to wash dishes, but only when you have a full load.
· Repair leaking faucets or pipes.