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1 AHS Professor Fleischmann 11 December 2013 Lack of water sustainability has become an immense problem for the world. Along with global warming, water will be the hottest environmental topic in the future due to the fact that it is the basis of all life forms. Water will become an exclusive and expensive commodity due to its increasing scarcity. The causes of this scarcity include water depletion, water pollution, eutrophication, and ocean acidification. Humans must start to address these issues if they want to continue living on a habitable planet because if they do not, there will not be enough water to sustain life on Earth. The issue with increasing water use is that it is occurring both on an individual and an industrial level. People have become much more wasteful with their individual water use. They are usually uneducated about the inner workings of water, which leads them to be oblivious. One example of this ignorance can be found in home car washes. When people wash their cars in their driveways, they use around 80-140 gallons of water as opposed to 30-45 gallons at an actual car wash (Hadhazy). Although this does not seem like an immense amount of water, it builds up over time. Another personal use of water that has greatly affected water depletion is the swimming pool. Pools lose around 1000 gallons of water to evaporation monthly (Hadhazy). This is a large amount of water that is simply wasted. Water is also lost to leaks in swimming pools. Personal use of water has an influential impact on water depletion because even though each action alone does not hurt our water source significantly, numerous individuals partake in these wasteful methods. On the industrial level, water is also wasted in significant amounts. 2 Industries use four percent of the world’s accessible water and then leave it contaminated with metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other harmful chemicals (Industrial). Between water use and contamination, industries contribute greatly to the depletion of accessible water. Agriculture has also significantly impacted water depletion through the cultivation of thirsty crops, wasteful field applications, and the use of agrichemicals. This results in the wasting of 42 percent of the world’s accessible water (Thirsty). Corn, cotton, rice, sugarcane, and wheat are all considered to be thirsty crops and they account for 58 percent of all agriculture (Thirsty). The reason they represent the majority of farmed plants is because they are some of the main sources of ethanol. The large amount of thirsty crop agriculture results in aquifers being drained at a faster rate. In fact, only one-third of the Ogallala aquifer remains (Groundwater). Aquifers are filled through rainfall seepage. Recently, the rate of water extraction has become greater than the rate of rainfall seepage, which has resulted in water depletion (Rainfall). In the process of farming, wasteful field applications are used. These include leaky irrigation systems and excessive irrigation. Leaks in the systems allow water to escape, which simply wastes water. Excessive irrigation has a few negative outcomes, including an increase in
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