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What are the human and
environmental factors affecting
water scarcity?
Suggest what factors will influence
water scarcity
Water scarcity sorting
• Cut out the slips, read them through and check
your understanding of the vocabulary used.
• Categorize the slips as
being environmental or human related.
• Categorize the slips as being either linked
to patterns or trends.
• Categorize the slips as being either
concerning physical water scarcity or economic
water scarcity.
Suggest how the following factors are
likely to make water scarcity more
severe – in pairs, create a mind map
• How could you colour code to represent
different factors?
Population growth
Increasing affluence
Climate change
Human (growing demand) and Environmental (falling supply) Causes of Water Scarcity
Las Vegas
Physical Scarcity Case Study - The Aral Sea
The Aral sea is an inland lake on the border of
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The Aral Sea used to be
the fourth largest inland lake in the world, with a surface
area of 68,000km2. The sea is fed by two rivers, the
Amu Darya and the Syr Darya. Since the 1960's the
sea has been shrinking because they were diverted by
USSR to irrigate the desert to increase their production
of melons, rice, wheat and cotton. Rice and cotton both
need extremely high amounts of water to grow.
Because the irrigation canals were built quickly, it has
been estimated that up to 75% was lost through
evaporation or leakage. Even today, only 12% of
Uzbekistan's irrigation canals are lined to stop leakage.
Between 1960 and 1988 the surface of the Aral Sea
shrank by nearly 60% and its volume by up to 80%. By
2007 it was only 10% of its original size and its salinity
had increased to 100 /L (normal seawater is only about
35 g/L).
The rapidly increasing salinity has largely killed the
sea's ecosystem. Huge salt plains have appeared as
more water is evaporated. The salt on the plains is
often whipped up in storms, killing crops and also
cooling winters and warming summers. The fishing
industry has collapsed and residents health worsened
due to inhalation of salt, a lack of clean water and food
Economic Scarcity Case Study –
Coca Cola in Rajasthan, India
Coca-Cola established a bottling plant in the village of Kaladera in
Rajasthan at the end of 1999. Rajasthan is well known as a desert
state, and Kaladera is a small, impoverished village characterised
by semi-arid conditions. Farmers rely on access to groundwater for
the cultivation of their crops. but since Coca-Cola's arrival, they
have been confronted with a serious decline in water levels. Locals
are increasingly unable to irrigate their lands and sustain their
crops, putting whole families at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Local villagers testify that Coca-Cola's arrival exacerbated an
already precarious situation. Official documents from the
government's water ministry show that water levels remained
stable from 1995 until 2000, when the Coca-Cola plant became
operational. Water levels then dropped by almost 10 metres over
the following five years. Locals fear Kaladera could become a 'dark
zone', the term used to describe areas that are abandoned due to
depleted water resources.
However, the government data showed water table decline of 1.83
metres in Kala Dera compared with those of other villages: 2.39 m
in Chomu, 2.28 m in Jaipur and 2.43 m in Tigariya. Coca- Cola
claims this is the result of "water stewardship’’ by a responsible
company with "expertise in water management’’.