MOST people have the habit of leaving the tap running freely when they brush their teeth, do the dishes or even when they have to come out of the bathroom halfway through a shower to answer the phone.
Such imprudence not only causes unnecessary water wastage but can also be costly with faucet and water meter working over time.
The widely-held notion is that water is an inexhaustible resource. Four-fifth of the planet is, after all, covered by water. Add this to the natural cycle of rainfall, snowfall, rising sea level and even increased frequency of floods, permanent water supply seems assured.
But the truth may not be so rosy. Given the high rate of wastage, water security is becoming exponentially fraught.
A landmark UN Report has warned of an impending global water crisis due to surging population growth, climate change, reckless irrigation and chronic waste. Giving a grim assessment of the state of the planet’s freshwater, especially in developing countries, the Report describes the outlook for coming generations as worrisome, cautioning that while water adequacy can de-termine prosperity and stability, lack of access to it helps drive poverty and deprivation and breeds the potential for unrest and conflict.
The Third World Water Development Report paints an equally gloomy (albeit realistic) picture. It points out that water is linked to crises of climate change, energy, food supplies, prices and faltering financial markets, and unless their links with water are addressed and water emergencies worldwide are resolved, these other malaises may intensify and local water problems may deteriorate, culminating in a global water crisis that could spark political insecurity at various levels.
The Report notes the situation will become even more critical with global population growing annually by 80 million, 90 per cent of which in poorer countries. And as yearly water demand is projected to grow by 64 billion cubic metres, supply, if not properly managed, can reach the point of no return.