Overpopulation and Water shortage
Overpopulation and Water shortage
Increased life expectancies as a result of advances in science are causing overpopulation. In the west immigration and increased life expectancies are causing overpopulation. This directly translates to various economic and social problems for all the residents in an area due to the increased strain in resources. While there is increased need for other countries to adapt better policies that will improve the living conditions for its residents and curb the need to immigrate, nations have to address the issues that are resulting from overpopulation.
These issues arising from overpopulation include starvation due to increased population, reduced food supplies and increased prices of food. In addition there is an increasing danger of water shortages in the world due to overexploitation of water resources. The issue of water shortages also arises from the changing global climatic patterns which have resorted from global warming as a result of climate unfriendly practices such as deforestation from increased need for land to settle on and increased air pollution due to increased number of industries and emissions.
Systems such as healthcare have also not been spared from strain due to overpopulation and people are receiving lower quality medical care resulting to more deaths. Environmental degradation and overexploitation of available natural resources is a result of overpopulation. Populations are polluting the environment more by inefficient waste disposal mechanisms and increased air and water pollution. Overpopulation results to overcrowding and increased levels of unemployment which has led to increased poverty, more injustices, violence, hunger and an increase in spreading diseases.
Human beings like all other species depend on natural ecosystems self regulating processes for supply of basic life support processes such as the purification of air, decomposition of waste, climate regulation and the supply of water. Water is a natural renewable resource that will automatically self renew. However this is when all other natural processes are held constant. An increase in the population of people living in an area to an amount that will bring a strain to all natural resources is called overpopulation.
The integrity of all these ecosystems is compromised by the strain and as a result there is either insufficient water supply or a compromise in the quality of water (Zuckerman & Jefferson, 56) There is a world wide crisis over water. According to the recent report by the United Nations, the problems arising from water shortages cannot be ignored. More than thirty one countries are currently facing dire water shortages. More than a billion of the world’s population is facing water scarcity or is lacking access to clean water for drinking.
The reports published by World Bank predict that by 2025, more than two thirds of the world population will have insufficient water (Cooper, 16). The amount of water being consumed is on an upward global trend and is doubling every two decades due to the increasing populations and needs. At the same time, the available water resources are under the constant threat of pollution, depletion and overexploitation in a bid to meet the rising needs.
Countries and municipal systems have proved inefficient in the provision of sufficient and safe water to the constantly increasing population. In addition the most crucial aspect to this dilemma is the strain the over population is placing on the existing water resources. Illinois is the fifth largest state in the United States with a population of more than 12. 4 million people. More immigrants are moving to Illinois and experts predict a slow but rapid increase in the state in the future.
Illinois has always been thought to have ample water supply. The fact that Lake Michigan has constantly supplied Illinois with water has always given residents security in water supply. Researchers have raised concern over this current trend of affairs and have predicted that in the next fifteen years Illinois will be facing possible water shortage crisis. Cities in the south like Chicago and Bloomington used cooperative agreement with the surrounding California states to limit their water consumption.
In the Chicago area, similar to other parts of the continent, awareness on the looming water crisis as experienced by other states in the south has resulted in local and state officials implementing measures that will allow conservation of the fresh water supplies and ensure that water is more efficiently used by the residents (Zuckerman & Jefferson, 64). Illinois as a state has realized the importance of addressing impending water crisis before they become a reality. The solution to the looming water shortages in Illinois were first geared towards increasing the number of water supplies in the state by digging more wells and aquifers.
There was an outcry by environmental conservationists and as all the stakeholders began to realize that this approach would not last them long, they initiated a better strategy into the 21st century. This approach is on better management of the already established supplies. To this ideal, numerous water conservation programs have been established at the regional level that are geared towards the application of better water saving approaches at the individual level. In addition they advocate for residents to use water efficient appliances as well as fixtures.
The battle over water resources at the Southern states has created awareness among all the US states and the politicians and policy makers have geared their efforts towards addressing the threat of water shortages. Illinois is one of the eight states of United Sates of America which approved the Great Lakes Compact. This is an initiative by the southern states to protect the five great lakes by restricting and regulating access to them thereby ensuring a constant safe supply of water for those Southern Sates in the future.
There is a rapid growth in all the towns in Illinois and due to this the demand for water has increased. This has translated to higher water consumption and Illinois is approaching the maximum allotted limit from Lake Michigan. These limits have been in use since 1985 after being decreed by the Supreme Court in 1967. Researches have been analyzing the possibility of utilizing alternative water supplies such as Aquifers for meeting the growing water demands.
They discovered that the aquifers would only sustain water use up to 2030 if the populations’ consumption remained stable. Under the growing population strain and the corresponding rising need for more water that would not be enough for sustaining the population (Cooper, 20). Sufficient fresh water which is of good quality is vital for any state to sustain the various people and animals living there. Water is a basic need used for drinking and bathing, irrigation, sustaining fisheries and other crucial services in a state (Shah, 90).
There is a global change in the climatic conditions and this has led to the eventual and rapid disappearance of critical ecosystems not only in Bloomington but also in other cities all over the world threatening the continuous supply of water for their increasing populations. The situation at hand in Bloomington is that which is being faced by all the other cities all over the United States. Bloomington city is located in the center of Illinois southwest of Chicago. It is the largest county in Illinois with a population of more than 64. 8 million.
Bloomington is the fastest growing city in Illinois and recorded a population growth of more than 20%. There is an increased trend over the last few years due to increased immigration. The city council of Bloomington is working towards the expansion of the Monroe WTPs’ capacity. They are attempting to address this issue by using membrane filtration to bring the additional flow to provide population with sufficient water. Bloomington is major city in Illinois. The main source of drinking water for Bloomington city is Monroe Reservoir. Lake Griffy and Lake Lemon supplement the water supply.
In Bloomington, the main regional water conservation body is campaigning for addressing both quality and quantity water issues for Bloomington’s rapidly growing population. Among the recommended strategies they have given to improve the quality of water they are advocating for planting green roofs and eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers. This is because the chemical residues are eventually drained off to the lakes and the water reservoirs. In addition residents are dissuaded from over exploiting fossil fuels and instead using alternative energy (Shah, 102).
To address the issue of water shortages the city has focused on implementing measures that will reduce water use for the growing population. They have recommended and are facilitating the implementation of better strategies which will lead the way towards the achievement of a self sustainable biosphere in the light of the increasing population. These include the installation of low flow shower heads, introduction of machines that maximize washing loads, ensuring roof run off is not wasted and is instead used for irrigation and landscaping with native plants that are water efficient.
Experts have also advocated for the installation of ultra flow sanitary units, better washing machines and more water efficient sprinkler systems (Shah, 86). The increase in the human population is inevitable and the state and city policy makers have had to address the issue of the increasing strain in natural resources including water. For this approach to be successful, Bloomington like other cities needs to engage a more cyclical approach which will be more efficient and cost effective to ensure long term future sustainability of water resources for its growing population.
Bloomington seems to be taking initiative towards implementing this model by an increase in recycling strategies, decreasing the water consumption and toxic releases to the water sources and air. The Bloomington city government seems to have acknowledged the need to do more in regard to establishing initiatives that are addressing the impending overpopulation crisis. To this regard, they have established a commission on sustainability that addresses issues regarding the establishment of policies geared towards conservation of the already available resources.
The mayor signed the climate protection agreement and implemented city council resolutions which are Kyoto protocol friendly. These have worked towards reducing the soaring green gas emissions which are targeted towards stabilizing global climatic conditions (Zuckerman & Jefferson, 76). The town needs to increase the North’s supply by incorporating Lake Lemon and Lake Griffy as well as the Bean Blossom Creek. This would only be more slightly expensive than the current model and would supply water to a larger region and would serve as a better supply alternative for Lake Monroe.
Other sources that would end the impending crisis would include investing in ground water supplies. Aquifers in the north would supplement the water supply but this would require an intensive study and analysis to ensure that they are a safe alternative for sully of water for consumption. Both of these approaches would ensure reliability in supply but in the light of the growing populations there is need to do more to ensure that these supplies will be consistent and will supply water for the populations. More crucial to implementing any conservation approach is the need to create water awareness campaigns for the residents.
There is need to translate the soaring water costs and the reasons behind it so that communities can actively participate in implementing the recommended approaches.
REFERENCES Ben Zuckerman & David Jefferson, Human Population and the Environmental Crisis, New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 1996, 18-78. Anup Shah, Ecology and the Crisis of Overpopulation: Future Prospects for Global Sustainability, Northampton: Edward Elgar publishers, 1998, 86-162. Mary H Cooper, Water Shortages: Is There Enough Fresh Water for Everyone? , Washington: CQ Press, 2003, 16-35.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 29 November 2016
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