The water issue: factors and case studies

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The water issue
Physical factors
Climate: rainfall amount, reliability of rainfall, rate of evaporation, rainfall
distribution
Presence of underground aquifers
Presence of rivers
Global water use: most is used for agriculture (70%), whereas only 22% is
used in industry and 8% is used for domestic purposes
socio-economic factors
Wealth: technological ability to store and transfer water and to dispose of
waste water, technology to discover water.
Population: rate of growth, density
Cost of water
Pollution from industrial and human waste
Political factors
Conflict where rivers cross borders
Government targets to halve the amount of people without a sustainable
access to safe drinking water by 2015.
Government investment in water projects an reduce water stress.
Government mismanagement can lead to increased scarcity.
Case study: Sonoran desert
Hot arid desert in south west USA
Large cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas
Contains some large rivers as there source lies outside the desert in higher
ground meaning they naturally flow through the desert.
Underground aquifers supply Phoenix with most of its water supply, along
with lakes from Salt river.
The extraction of water is becoming unsustainable as the rate of extraction
exceeds the rate of replenishment. This is due to increasing populations,
living standard expectations, immigration due to people being attracted by
the climate and increasing population of America.
To increase supply of water to meet demand, they took water from the
Colorado river through the central Arizona project (CAP) along canals.
This shows that if the wealth and technological capabilities are there then
the water supply can be increased and the demand met. However, physical
factors such as the actual supply would still be important in providing a
sustainable water supply.

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Also social-economic factors such as growing population will lead to an
improved water supply as the supply will have to improve in order to meet
the demand.
This led to CAP (4bn water transfer scheme)
Therefore supply can be driven by human and physical factors
Case study: technology in Kerzaz, Algeria
Wells are dug in the desert to reach groundwater, allowing a underground
channel to carry this water towards the town downhill, allowing for a
constant supply.…read more

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