Population growth, increasing meat consumption, and economic activity are putting a heavy strain on the world’s water resources.
According to the latest data from the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based research institute, people in 400 regions around the world are living in “extreme water scarcity”.
There are fears that water scarcity could displace millions, one of the causes of conflict and political instability.
Will the Earth’s freshwater ever run out?
From Mexico to Chile to tourist hotspots in Africa, southern Europe, and the Mediterranean, “water stress” (the ratio of the amount of water withdrawn from the surface to the amount available) is reaching alarming levels.
The distribution of the world’s water resources is about the distribution of water resources on the earth. The freshwater reserves on land only account for 2.53% of the total water body on earth, of which solid glaciers account for about 68.69% of the total freshwater reserves. It is distributed in the polar regions, and the technical level of human beings is still difficult to use. Most of the fresh water in liquid form is deep groundwater, and the exploitation and use are also very small.
The freshwater resources that are easy to use by human beings are river water, freshwater lake water, and shallow groundwater. The world’s real and effective use of freshwater resources is about 9,000 cubic kilometers per year.
From the perspective of the distribution of water resources in various continents, Asia has the largest annual runoff, followed by South America, North America, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. From the perspective of per capita runoff, the total amount of river runoff in the world is about 10,000 cubic meters per person. Among the continents, Oceania has the largest per capita runoff, followed by South America, North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
According to the World Resources Institute, one-third of the world’s population – 2.6 billion people – live in countries with “high water scarcity”, with 1.7 billion people in 17 countries living in “water-stressed” areas.
While more than a dozen countries in the dry Middle East are considered the world’s most water-scarce countries, the World Resources Institute says India faces serious challenges in the use and management of water resources that will affect everything from people’s health to economic development. in every way.
Pakistan, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, and Botswana are also water-stressed countries.
Increasing Water Demand
Between 1961 and 2014, global water abstraction (the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the surface) increased by a factor of 2.5. The water needed to irrigate crops has more than doubled over the past half-century, and irrigation water accounts for about 67 percent of annual water withdrawals, the World Resources Institute said.
Industrial water use in 2014 tripled from 1961 and now accounts for 21% of total water withdrawals. Meanwhile, domestic water consumption accounts for 10 percent of total water withdrawals, more than six times the level in 1961.
Only a fraction of the water goes to livestock, and according to a study by the University of Twente in the Netherlands, some of the water used to irrigate crops ends up in livestock, accounting for 12 percent of global irrigation water. Because demand for animal products is expected to increase, dietary changes, such as reducing meat intake, can help reduce some of the water stress.
According to a 2012 Dutch study, the water footprint of any animal product is larger than that of a crop product with the same nutritional value. Water footprint refers to the amount of water used behind the consumption of various products or services by the public in daily life.
Climate and Water Resources
Some UN agencies have warned that climate change will make water supplies unpredictable in some regions. Warming temperature and variable rainfall are expected to reduce crop yields in many tropical developing regions, where food security has become an issue, the World Health Organization said.
According to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, on current trends, water shortages in some arid and semi-arid regions will displace 24 million to 700 million people by 2030.
Since 1993, World Water Day on March 22 has become a United Nations commemoration day focusing on the importance of freshwater resources. World Water Day celebrates water and brings awareness to the fact that 2.2 billion people still live without access to safe drinking water, and is a day of action to address the global water crisis.
Well, the above is about the water resources situation in the world. Let’s see what we can do to save the water now. A reservoir plays an important role in the agriculture industry, it is a natural or artificial lake used for flood control, water storage and irrigation, water supply, power generation, fish farming, etc. The first important function is protection from heavy rain brought by typhoons in the rain season. There were a lot of people suffering from the flood every year, due to the unpredictable factors of the climate, when a rainstorm comes, the reservoir will switch from “flood release” mode to “flood containment” mode. The before vacated storage capacity will play an important role – the more storage capacity is vacated, the more precipitation the upstream reservoir can hold back, and the lower the blood pressure on the downstream river. Protection of the natural reservoir is important work, while lots of artificial reservoirs are under construction since, in water-scarce countries, the artificial lakes would help to regulate the climate.
More and more areas are choosing to build artificial lakes with waterproof materials. PE liners are one of the most popular liners, also called geomembrane. PE materials are made from polyethylene resins. It is anti-seepage, waterproof, UV resistant, and long service life. The anti-seepage and waterproof functions mean it is suitable to store the water and prevent the water from leaking. UV resistance makes it will last a long span during the usage even exposed to the sun. Besides, PE liners made with virgin resins are high-quality standards that usually last 30-50 years. The consistency of the PE liners is virgin resins, carbon resins, and other chemical additives.
HDPE geomembranes are available in different thicknesses to suit the type of application. Both the top and bottom surfaces of the geomembrane are usually smooth. Special polymeric geomembranes with textured surfaces are also available, yet, for use in certain situations, such as steep embankments. 0.5 mm, 0.75 mm, and 1.0 mm HDPE geomembrane film is used in the impermeable layer at the bottom of the aquaculture pool. 1.0 mm, 1.5 mm, and 2.0 mm HDPE geomembrane film is used in landfills, sewage treatment engineering, and other pollution prevention and environmental protection engineering fields. The quality requirements for the geomembrane are high.
The geomembrane has the wide applications as below:
Municipal environmental projects, waste oil and gas projects.
Landfill cap(closures), mining heap leach pads.
Pond liner, canal linings, tank linings, raw water treatment reservoirs, and retention ponds.
Wastewater treatment lagoon, secondary containment, etc.
Why geomembrane is so popular in projects?
Because geomembrane is very stable no matter high or low temperature, from 200 degrees to minus 70 degrees. It is not easy to melt in the hot season or some special high-temperature environment while also not easy to break in extremely cold weather. Make sure that the liners are suitable to apply in most conditions. What’s more, it is anti-acid and alkali, some projects like lagoons or landfills, will need high-quality standards as the bottom liners, and there will be chemical reactions during use. Like the landfill, if it is used to store medical garbage, it is too dangerous if the harmful liquid or items leak into the ground, will cause unpredictable and irreversible influences on the environment. The increasing use of geomembranes in large landfills proves the geomembrane durability and quality.
It is interesting that the geomembrane is also used in the aquaculture industry. Like fish farming, shrimp farming, and crab farming, we supply different thicknesses to apply for the pond. Usually, 0.5mm, 0.75mm, and 1.0 mm are more popular in the market. In aquaculture farming, the pond will form a complete ecosystem, except for collecting the water for farming, it can also store the water for the dry season in arid areas. Many African countries are buying geomembranes to build ponds for water storage and farming, which also promotes the economy, on the other side, will be a benefit the environment. Comparing industrial development, the PE liners are more cost-effective.
Upon the distribution of the water resources around the world, using geomembranes to do the construction of the lake or reservoir will benefit both the environment and the economy. No matter small water pond for farm irrigation, or a large reservoir for potable water close to residential areas. PE geomembrane is becoming more and more popular in environmental construction projects. Earth Shield Geosynthetics is a manufacturer focusing on geosynthetics materials with over 20 years of experience, we have supplied materials to landfills, mining plants, power plants, salt industries, and thousands of fish ponds in over 60 countries. Hope this will be helpful to you in the coming plans.