The scarcity of water in many parts of the world has now made people accept this reality, which experts have been talking about for a long time. The worst hit city is South Africa’s Cape Town, which is in danger of completely running out of the drinking water supplies. Other cities in the world will follow suit, as only 3% of the 70% water on Earth’s surface is fresh, potable water. A study done in 2014, found that at least 500 biggest cities of the world is facing water crisis. Is your city on the list too? Find out.
12 cities that are about to face water crisis
Sao Paulo faced severe water scarcity in the year 2015, when the city’s main reservoir levels fell to below 4%. The situation was an intense one, with the 21.7 million people had fewer than 10 day’s water supply – water trucks had to be escorted by police to prevent being looted. Water is the most precious resource indeed!
One of the reasons, apart from the drought in South-eastern Brazil, was the ‘lack of proper planning and investments’ as stated by a UN mission. In January 2017, main water reserves again went below 15%, which makes Sao Paulo one of the cities which will face water crisis in the future.
Bangalore is one of the cities in India which is staring at depleted water resources. Uncontrolled real estate growth has led to a massive increase in demand for water supply and the city is struggling to provide water as well as sewage system demand.
The city’s age old plumbing system requires upheaval, as a report discovered that the city loses more than half drinking water in waste. Pollution in the lakes of the city showed that most of them had water which was suitable for industrial cooling and irrigation, and not for drinking or even bathing. There is a water mafia in the city now which forces the residents living in outer areas to shell out huge amounts of money to buy water.
Water crisis is a problem for Beijing also. World Bank describes water scarcity as when people of a certain location receive less than 1,000 cubic m fresh water per person. In 2014, Beijing inhabitants -received only 145 cubic m. As China is vastly over-populated and has only 7% fresh water (in the world), with declining water resources, experts predict a dire situation for this city in future.
Adding to the problem is pollution, as most surface water is polluted to such extremes that it cannot be used for agricultural as well as industrial use.
Among the other cities in India which are facing water crisis is Chennai. Chennai has a huge population being sixth-largest city in India. As the four reservoirs which supply the city’s water are gradually drying out, residents of the city queue up in lines to collect their water from trucks.
The city recovered from the devastating Millennium Drought, the worst in the history of Australia, from 1997 to 2009. But the ecologists worry that Melbourne’s water supply might face a shortage again, because of the deforestation which has caused Victoria’s highlands. As the city’s water resources are located in forest catchments, deforestation if unchecked, might lead to water being scarce again.
Tokyo is undergoing a water crisis as well. The city depends on above ground water sources for its drinking water, such as lakes, rivers, melted snow and four months of rain, for about 70% of water needs. So if and when the city has low rainfall, it goes through water shortage.
Though Miami is in Florida, which is the state that receives the highest landfall in the US, still it is one of the US cities which has water crisis. This is because Atlantic Ocean’s water polluted the city’s main water source, the Biscayne Aquifer. Though this happened many years ago, sea water still manages to seep into the aquifer due to rise in sea water levels. So Miami happens to be one of the US cities which have been under water stress, and the situation might become worse.
The Nile, which has been the main water supply for Egypt for centuries, is now reeling under increasing pollution. It is burdened by the untreated residential and agricultural waste, almost 97% of the entire country’s waste flows into this river. The number of people dying due to water pollution is quite high in Egypt and experts are predicting that there will be severe potable water shortage by 2025.
Jakarta is a coastal city which is facing threat from the rising sea levels like other coastal cities of the world. But Jakarta’s situation is much worse as it has to face the consequences of human action. Due to the scarcity of piped water for millions of people, people resort to digging wells for drinking and other uses. This is draining the city’s underground aquifers and has reduced their levels to a minimum. As the surface is covered with concrete, it cannot absorb rainfall, and the aquifers cannot be replenished.
No one expects London to be on the list of cities facing water shortage, as it seems to rain all the time there. But actually London’s annual rainfall is less than Paris and half of that of New York. London’s water is derived from the rivers L and Thames. London city experts are predicting shortage by 2025 and a very dry London in 2040. Surprisingly, even though there is water supply shortage, the city wastes 25% of its water!
Although Russia has a number of fresh water reserves, but these are polluted by the ‘industrial development’, which happened in the Soviet Union. This is a cause for worry for Moscow, as the city’s 70% water supply is dependent on surface water. Regulatory bodies in Russia admit that up to 60% drinking water reserves in the city and in fact, the whole country, are not sanitary.
Mexico City is already facing water supply shortage as people in the city get water from the taps for only a couple of hours in the week, and the other 20% get running water only few times in the day. The city imports water in great amounts, but as there is no large project to recycle wastewater and also due to pipe leakage, the city is under water stress.