Quality of Water
How does the quality of freshwater decline? What are the causes of such declines? Let us look at these questions.
When the humans began to settle down permanently in some areas, the waters in those areas declined in quality through their economic activity. Increasing population, agriculture, industrial activities and urban needs make a large demand on the freshwater sources. With the changing climate, there is a general decline in rainfall as well. Besides these, bio-degradation, salination through irrigation and such other events cause declines in quality. Nowadays, the wastes or effluents disposed from the industries such as the solid wastes, heavy metals, radioactive materials, nitrates and minute carbon pollutants create problems in water quality. Acidification of the waters of the lakes and streams and declines in oxygen content in the coastal waters are expected to create major problems in water quality in the near future.
We have now seen how the water quality declines due to various reasons. Our life is intertwined with the protection of the water resources. A quality assessment of the freshwaters made by the World Watch Institute has indicated to the declining quality worldwide. This assessment has also indicated to improving quality of the freshwater in some of the industrialised countries. It is pointed out that the quality of freshwater and the protection to it are still not adequate worldwide. The controls remain weaknesses. Just as quality, quantity has also become a worldwide problem. Increasing population further compounds this problem. Water scarcity is likely to become a Crisis of the Future.
Problems and Prospects
In the developing countries, water scarcity and indiscriminate disposal of industrial wastes together account for a general crisis. Freshwater sources such as the lakes, rivers and ponds have been disposal sites for domestic wastes, industrial solid and chemical wastes. Bathing, washing clothes and open defecation all go to make these sources highly polluted and these have become daily occurrences as well. These sources are indeed the sources of drinking water for several communities. Hence, 80 per cent of all diseases spread through water. Particularly, diarrhea is the most dangerous disease of the developing countries. This disease afflicts a large number of children below five years of age.