Custom «Supply of Fresh Water in Arid Areas» Essay Paper Sample

Supply of Fresh Water in Arid Areas


It is a fact that too much of something is poisonous. Perhaps one would wonder how this particular proverb is related to the access of fresh water in most arid places. Well to elaborate on this, we will look at where the problem actually originates from. Because of the abundance of water masses in most arid areas, urbanization takes place at accelerated rates (United Nations, 2011). When proper planning is not taken in consideration (and this is especially very prevalent in third world countries), then improper waste management affects general sanitation and creates a situation which contaminates the little fresh water available. Because of this access to fresh water is thus limited (Gleick and Morikawa 2008, p. 11-17).  and even if one accesses it, it would probably be at very exorbitant prices. Thus the purpose of this particular paper is to analyze how known methods of ensuring fresh water supply to people in arid areas are feasible.

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Because of this particular problem, outbreaks of very preventable and curable diseases occur very frequently leading to many deaths. This has led many third world governments to resort to other methods of ensuring fresh and clean water is made available to the general population of those countries. This has not been easy bearing in mind that most of these areas have very little to show in terms of infrastructure. Efforts are thus hindered by poor communication and transportation through affected areas. However, there exist very effective methods of meeting the demand for fresh water effectively (Lancaster, 2010, p.48-53).  The bar graph below illustrates the number of boreholes that were present in South Africa as of 1990.

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Desalination Plants

Desalination basically refers to the process of salt removal from sea water. This particular process is being embraced by counties such as Namibia and even Australia. It is a fact that only about 1 per cent of the earth's water is dimmed fresh and safe for human consumption. Because of this we are left mostly with salty water available from seas and oceans. South Africa has started construction on the Eastern Cape of one of its largest desalination plant. Through this plant, about 7000 metric cubes of fresh water will be able to be harvested and therefore supplied to the public. This particular strategy involves methods such as thermal processes, electro dialysis and membrane processes. Because of its success especially in highly populated coastal regions, desalination has been seen as a perfect remedy for coping with the continued shortage of fresh water for both industrial and domestic use (Earthpolicy, 2006).

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Re-Use Of Municipal Wastewater

Sewages normally contain human wastes which if treated to a certain specification, have the capacity to produce quality fresh water that is fit for human consumption. This process is normally through biological waste treatment plants such as the Durban water recycling plant. This particular plant helps in the purification of about 40,000 metric cubes of treated waste water. Majority of its customers are the industrial giants who use it for industrial purposes. However its major challenge is that of convincing the general public of the fact that this particular method is 100 per cent safe. In my own opinion, I think it is very safe and very economical as opposed to other methods. It does not require heavy financing except in the initial phase of establishing the plant itself.

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However in as much as this particular water supply method is concerned, challenges in implementation and execution of decisions exist. This is even worsened further by the fact that infrastructure is a major problem as getting the purified water in to the municipal water supply still remains a challenge. It is also of great concern that there is an acute lack of skills to facilitate these particular projects and plants. This has led to poor managerial and decision making techniques in the awarding of tenders for the construction of these plants, which in turn puts their performance in complete jeopardy. All in all this particular method restores a lot of waste water into direct or in direct use by both citizens and industries alike.

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Ground Water Harvesting (Boreholes)

Because of the fact that surface water is diminishing altogether, it is important for those in arid areas to realize tat very soon, they will ran out of options if they extinguish all surface water available to them. Surface water includes rivers and fresh water springs which can be accessed easily. The drilling of boreholes has long been associated with semi-arid areas due to the fact that there is acute lack of water in those places (Healy and Scanlon 2010, p. 15 -18). However, many individual projects have been started that focus on the drilling of boreholes in an effort to harvest ground water. This is very viable because it does not require any kind of maintenance after the initial drilling. Water is thus tapped and has it own mechanism of purifying itself so cases of diseases are very minimal.

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In spite of their relevance in addressing the supply of fresh water to arid areas, most of them are left open and thus become prone to contamination which can lead to the infection of people with water borne diseases (Stephenson et al 2004, p. 87-89). This is however being addressed by purification methods such as water pills that are made available to the locals. One can thus get water from these boreholes and with the use of these pills, purify the water overnight. Another issue that presents itself as a challenge is the fact that most of the water from boreholes contains levels of salt in them. This puts in to focus a secondary means of ensuring that the water is free of salt. The drilling of water is therefore very feasible as a method of fresh water supply in arid areas bearing the fact that it is cheap to construct and maintain these boreholes (Gleick and Morikawa 2008, p. 46-50). It is also very convenient for many who cannot afford purified water being sold in supermarkets and other uptown stores.

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Recommendations and Conclusion

It is important for governments to realize the importance devising other methods of water harvesting instead of relying on conventional methods such as rain water that flows in rivers for the supply of fresh water. Of importance too is the immediate addressing of the issue of climate change which is bound to worsen the situation even more (Parry, 2007, P.194). This is perhaps very imperative bearing in mind that the world's population is ever increasing and water is also increasingly becoming a scarce commodity. Methods such as desalination help in the tapping of fresh water from salty water. This requires a lot of skilled labor and technological know how to facilitate. I think that governments should invest more in water purification plants that will help address not only the subject of waste management, but the scarcity of fresh water especially in urban areas.

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Because of the fact that about a third of the world's surface is either arid or semi-arid the drilling boreholes and construction of dams will help in the tapping of rain water that will have instead flowed to the oceans and seas (Kresic 2008, p. 35-42). It is very economical and very efficient not to mention convenient as they are easily accessible by the general public. This will not only ensure the availability of fresh water in arid areas, but also it will help in the reduction of water borne diseases thereby saving the government from disease outbreaks such as cholera, which in my opinion are uncalled for and impact heavily on the financial end.

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