Water Demand and Consumption

Humanity is dependent on rivers, lakes, and underground water reservoirs for freshwater requirements in domestic life, agriculture, and industry. However, rapid industrial growth and a worldwide population explosion has resulted in a large escalation of demand for freshwater, both for household needs and for crops to produce adequate quantities of food. Added to this is the problem of the pollution of rivers and lakes by industrial wastes and the large amounts of sewage discharge. On a global scale, human-made pollution of natural sources of water is becoming one of the greatest causes of freshwater shortage. Added to this is the problem of uneven distribution. For example, Canada has a tenth of the world's surface freshwater but less than 1% of the world's population.

Of the total water consumption, about 70% is used by agriculture, 20% is used by the industry, and only 10% of the water consumed worldwide is used for household needs. It should be noted that, before considering the application of any desalination method, water conservation measures should be considered. For example, drip irrigation, using perforated plastic pipes to deliver water to crops, uses 30-70% less water than traditional methods and increases crop yield. This system was developed in the early 1960s, but today it is used in less than 1% of the irrigated land. In most places on the earth, governments heavily subsidize irrigation water and farmers have no incentive to invest in drip systems or any other water-saving methods.

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