Scientific research has proven that while the world population has tripled over the 21st century, demand for water has increased by 6 times. Since, this population is estimated to increase by 50% within the next 50 years, this alarming outburst tends to have a big impact on world infrastructure. Population growth and industrialization means a greater pressure on the supply of clean water and this will result in the decrease of ground water level. Moreover, the sites of industrialization has reduced places of water supply and increased levels of pollution, causing a highly negative impact on the environment.
We have to realize that clean water and fuels are most intimately related. For the growing population, not only is clean water necessary, but we must also have sufficient reserves of coal, petroleum and natural gas for smooth and healthy sustainment. So, the insufficient reserves of clean water has resulted in the hindrance of energy production. This is because clean water plays a vital role in the production, purification and durability of fuels. That is why the World Water Day on the 22nd of March, 2014 upheld the issue, “Water and Energy” which depicted the inter-relation and inter-reliability of these two important factors. The 2016 summit’s agenda, however was “Better water, better jobs”, which stated that the preservation, protection and management of our water reserves will ensure the improvement and development of human life.
Pollution amidst clean water crisis
Everybody knows that three-fourth of the earth is comprised of water. What people don’t know is that only 2.5% of this water is sweet and the remaining 97.5% salty. Of this sweet water, people has access to only 0.025% for drinking. Therefore, the reserves of water left for farming, household works, industrialization and drinking is understandably scarce. The main sources of clean water are mainly, lakes, rivers, ponds, waterfalls and groundwater. Constant filling of these sites has left behind an impression that our sources of clean water are numerous and that this clean water is abundant. Moreover, this site-filling has led to abnormal amounts of pollution. High level of arsenic has been found in the waters of the Ganges due to the felling of trees and the construction of excessive buildings. The very source of this water-the Himalayas, is currently melting down due to increasing global warming and lots of land in the coastal areas are facing severe draught right now. Important rivers like the Buriganga, Dhaleshwari and Shitalakhkha are being filled and polluted in the pretence of industrialization. This added on with the heavy use of pesticides, shrimp farming causing waters to become salty, heavy arsenic pollution in many areas and the construction of buildings by blocking flow of clean water supply from rivers and lakes, and of course the disposal of heavy toxic materials from factories near water bodies has massively contributed to the pollution of our clean waters and inevitably caused scarcity for the millions of the country. This has resulted in the reduction of rainfall and abrupt changes in the infrastructure that sometimes led to major accidents and calamities.
Water Scarcity vs Water Management
According to the United Nations (UN) human Development Index of 2006, around 1.1 billion of developing countries do not have access to clean water supply. The same Index suggests that approximately 1.8 billion children die due to water-borne diseases from impure waters. However, the greatest impact of impure water falls on women around the world. Women of the household use a large amount of water in their daily chores. Apart from being used in household jobs, drinking dirty water can cause diarrhea and other water-borne diseases. Many people point their fingers at inappropriate water management rather than water supply for this. They feel that it is not so much as population growth or reserves of clean water but the way the water is used that determines the amount of clean water that people can have access to. One research shows that 12% of the global population makes use of 85% of the clean, drinkable water allowed to them, and it is very much clear to anyone that 12% of the world’s population must obviously not belong to third world countries. So they feel that the real reason that people do not have clean water to drink is poverty, power or influence and inequality. Surprisingly, a survey shows that 1.8 billion people use 20 litres of water daily while on the other hand, people of the UK uses 50 litres of water to just flush down their toilets! And although third world countries face the gravest of threats from clean water scarcity, multinational companies like CocaCola use the water reserves of these countries to mass produce their drinks.
Use of Water and Fuels
Water and fuels are intricately related to each other. While clean water is absolutely vital for the production of fuels such as petroleum, fuels are also needed for the extraction and use of clean water. Petroleum currently makes up around 40% of fuels used and uses from 4500-9200 litres of water per unit (One British million Thermal Unit) for its production, extraction from refineries and purification. Also clean water is very much necessary for coal production, transportation, purification and supply. Coal makes up around 30% of fuels and is used in many household and industrial works. One unit of coal production requires 160-620 litres of water. Even the refining and purification of natural gas requires 11 litres of water.
Recently, the use of bio-fuels has increased rapidly to almost 10%. The main components of bio-fuels are ethanol and bio-diesel. Ethanol is mainly made from sugarcane, corn and barley and needs 9450 to 110 thousand litres of water per unit of production. On the other hand, bio-diesel is made from soyabean, grease and vegetable oil. Bio-diesel requires 53 thousand to almost 284 thousand litres of water per unit. Even production of electricity needs huge amounts of water for power generators. Production of organic fuels, on the other hand, needs 4160-8330 litres of water.
As stated above, fuels and water are inter-related. Just as fuels are necessary for water purification and supply, water is also essential for fuel production. That is why the scarcity of water is felt throughout every step of humans’s life and thus has to be progressed through proper channels.
Use of water for fuel production in Bangladesh
The 2011 International Agency Statistics suggests that the sources of fuels in Bangladesh are natural gas (53.3%), biomass (28.2%), oil (15.5%), coal (2.9%) and hydro-power (0.2%). Oil is mostly used in the production of fuels in this country and the use of water is no less. In 2011, 88,061 gigawatts-hour electricity was generated in Bangladesh. The biggest sources of this electricity were natural gas (91.5%), oil (5.2%), biomass (1.8%) and hydro-power (1.5%). We have already seen that per unit production of organic fuel requires 4160-8330 litres of clean water. Therefore, we must understand that the use of water in the production of fuels is not to be ignored. However, it is also true that the amount of water required to produce this fuel is quite insignificant to the pressing water problems in the country. Most of the water in Bangladesh is used in farming, in factories, drinking and a variety of household chores. Almost 1.2 million pumps in Bangladesh run on diesel. Therefore, if the water reserves of this country are not properly accounted for and maintained with caution, the future of water supply in Bangladesh will face a grave threat.
Proper management of Fuels and Water
Fuels, water and life of mankind are all related and inter-dependent. Although the development and progress of the people of a country is very much dependent on the reserves of fuel, fuel alone cannot ensure fast development of a nation, without the help of water supplies and the co-operation of the people themselves. Population growth continues to present problems on the infrastructure of the country and put increasing pressure on the water reserves. On the other hand, the future sources of fuels and water are limited. So, we must save our natural reserves of fuels and water and guard them with great care. We must also look forward to embrace methods of fuel production without heavy use of water, especially greater adaptation of solar power which comes from renewable enery sources, in our homes and other applicable places as much as possible. If we can make the best use of these alternative sources of energy, our natural reserves of fuels and water will not face extinction and the nation will be able to progress much faster to a greater future.
(The information and statistics in this articles have been extracted from the internet)