Global fresh water issues and problems might generally fit into one of two broad categories.
In this guide, we identify these categories, and also the specific water problems associated with each of them.
We also consider what some of the potential solutions to address them might be.
Two Major Categories Of Global Water Problems/Issues
Two broad categories that global water problems and issues might fit into might be:
– Quantity related water problems
– Quality related water problems
Quantity Related Water Problems, & Potential Solutions
What Are Quantity Related Water Problems?
Quantity related water problems involve not having an adequate quantity of water resources to meet the demand put on those resources by a local population (i.e. a city or town)
There’s a range of reasons why this might happen.
Water Phrases Used In Conjunction With Quantity Related Water Problems
Water stress, water scarcity, and water shortages, are all common terms used to describe different water issues that involve quantity related water problems.
However, water access, and water availability, can both limit the amount of freshwater for a local population too.
Additionally, water pollution and contamination, and other water issues that impact water quality, may limit the amount of freshwater for a local population.
Potential Solutions, & More Information
We explain different aspects of quantity related water problems in this guide, such as:
A definition of quantity related water problems
Potential causes of quantity related water problems
Potential effects of quantity related water problems
Potential solutions for quantity related water problems
Plus, other relevant information about quantity related water problems
Quality Related Water Problems, & Potential Solutions
What Are Quality Related Water Problems?
Quality related water problems are problems that lead to a degradation of water quality.
A result of this is that the water may not be of an adequate quality for potable or non potable end uses.
Different countries and regions have different legislation, regulations and standards/guidelines in place for drinking water, and also non potable water, which outlines requirements for things like safety, testing, and so on
Water Phrases Used To Describe Quality Related Water Problems
Water pollution and contamination might be considered the main cause of quality related water problems.
Water salinity is another term related to the quality of water, in addition to saline water, brackish water, and waste water.
Potential Solutions, & More Information
We explain different aspects of quality related water problems in this guide, such as:
A explanation of what water quality is
Common ways we improve water quality across society with different processes
Examples of quality related water problems
Potential solutions to quality related water problems
A Lack Of Access To Basic Water Services, & Basic Sanitation & Hygiene Services
There may be a third category of water problems that affects a notable number of people in the world.
That is a lack of access to basic water services (i.e. clean and safe drinking water), and also a lack of access to basic sanitation and hygiene services (like basic toilets).
But, rather than involving global water issues, these are problems that are much more specific to underdeveloped, developing, and lower income regions (we are not trying to discount these problems, and they can still affect hundreds of millions and even billions of people in some instances)
This problem is a lack of access to basic (clean and safe) drinking water, and a lack of access to basic sanitation and hygiene services.
What About How Natural Events & Natural Disasters Relate To Water Issues?
Some natural disasters involve water, such as floods.
And, some natural events and disasters can cause water issues, such as hurricanes and floods that can damage water infrastructure, disrupt water supplies, and even contaminate water supplies.
However, this guide does not cover natural disasters and natural events in relation to water issues.
Summarized List Of Different Water Problems
We’ve summarized some of the key water phrases and water problems discussed in this guide in a separate guide where we outline different water problem phrases.
A summary list of those problems is as follows:
Water Availability – relates to water quantity
Water Access – relates to water quantity (mostly for developing and underdeveloped regions though)
Water Stress – relates to water quantity
Water Scarcity – relates to water quantity
Water Shortage – relates to water quantity
Water Pollution & Contamination – relates to water quality, but also affects water quantity
The Water Crisis – relates to access, and water quantity
Water Security – general water phrase, that can be used in conjunction with either quantity or quality related water issues.
Water Risk – general water phrase, , that can be used in conjunction with either quantity or quality related water issues
Understanding That Water Problems Are Ultimately Local, & Require Local Solutions
Different water sources are local to different cities and towns, and have a different set of factors and variables impacting them, and causing issues and problems.
As a result of this, water problems are local, and therefore require local solutions to address them.
Understanding Different Local Water Supply Systems Around The World
Each city and town around the world has a different water supply system to consider, that have different factors and variables to consider as well.
The waterstories.co.za report in the ‘sources’ list does a good job of outlining the water supply picture and also the surrounding environment in Cape Town, and how it all works together.
Reading this report along with our separate guide on the Cape Town ‘Water Crisis’ can help develop an understanding of water supply systems, and what might have to be considered to develop and run a sustainable water strategy in a local area.