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QUESTION: Why is there a shortage of water even though it occupies about 70% of the earth's
Although water occupies about 70% of the earth's surface, all of it is not potable water. Most of the water is
available in the form of seas and oceans which is salty in nature. This salty water has its limitations and cannot
be used for many purposes. Around 2.7% of water exists in the frozen state or as groundwater which is
inaccessible, some water bodies also are in gaseous state. Only 0.3% of water is available as potable water
which is fit for human consumption.
There are other main factors to be considered as stated below;
1. Pollution
Pollution is a major cause of water shortage. Water is polluted when industrial wastes are deposited into water
bodies thus making it unfit for human consumption. Oil spillage and fecal matter also makes the water
contaminated. It cannot be used for drinking. This makes it scarce.
2. Overuse of Water
When water is overused, shortage occurs. Some people use too much water especially for irrigation purposes. It
therefore becomes inadequate for other equally important uses.
3. Water Wastage
Wastage of water is also a major cause of water shortage. Some people leave their taps running even when they
are not fetching water. All this is lost to the ground. The resultant problem is lack of enough water.
4. Drought
When drought strikes an area, there is usually no rain for a long period of time. This makes rivers to dry. Other
water sources such as streams, ponds, e.t.c also dry up. People therefore do not have enough water for
domestic and industrial use.
5. Conflict
Conflict contributes to water shortages in areas. When people are fighting over control of water sources like
rivers, some will not have access to it.
6. Distance
In some areas especially arid regions, people stay far away from oasis and other sources of water like
boreholes. Traveling there takes a lot of time. It is also a burden to carry water from such distant places to
homes. This discourages them from going to fetch water. The result is water shortage.
7. Restriction by Governments
Some governments especially those that govern by dictatorship may restrict citizens from accessing certain
water sources.
8. Destruction of Water Catchment Areas
Water catchment areas such as forests are continually being destroyed through deforestation to pave way for
human settlement. This problem has been brought about by rapid population increase. As a result, there is not
enough rain thus causing water shortage.