Categorically, there are approximations that nearly 30% of the overall globe land area comprises of occupied arid and semi-arid areas. Most importantly, water shortages prevent both economic and social development of the mentioned arid and semi-arid regions of the world. The cited economic and social development gets held back because they significantly rely on continuous water supply resources. Due to the constant and continuous interruption of the aquifers (V.E.A, 2005, p.122), the freshwater challenge gets motivated, because, the mentioned water is increasingly becoming salty. The report, therefore, aims at evaluating the feasibility of providing fresh water to arid areas through harvesting ground water using boreholes, desalination, and recycling of waste water. Also, the report aims at comparing the cost and efficiency of using the different methods in providing fresh water.
Notably, research conducted showed that in arid areas, there is high population growth, together with industrialization and urbanization; for the mentioned reason, the demand for the fresh water is rising. However, the arid regions often possess limited accessibility to fresh water sources. The desalinated seawater, as well as, the fractional ground water sources are often the main sources of water supply. Therefore, in order to ensure positive life continuity or rather progress in arid areas, there is a necessitation to prepare realistic methods that guarantee fresh water supply (Shemang & Chaoka 2004 n.p.). Arid areas often experience little rainfall, and this adds to the problem of water shortage.
3.0 Solutions 3.1 Harvesting Ground Water Using Boreholes
Especially in the arid localities, with reference to other natural resources, it is evident that surface water is almost disappearing. Upon utilization and exploitation of all fresh water supply resources, arid populace will soon lack the fresh water as a whole. Essentially, surface water can get harvested from freshwater springs, as well as, rivers that are often easily accessible particularly; drilling of boreholes is a significant activity in arid regions. Drilling of boreholes is less costly because the cost of one borehole is approximately twenty million pounds (Howard et al 2010 p. 87)). Additionally, the cost significantly reduces due to the faster machinery that have been invented. Drilling of boreholes to harvest water is a fully workable method because there are often no maintenance costs proceeding the initial drilling. Moreover, the tapped underground water is naturally pure and safe, thereby, eliminating the costs of frequent treatment.
However, open boreholes are usually at risk to different contaminants. Nonetheless, there exist realistic solutions to open boreholes. The suggested solutions include the implementation of purification pills which is often very cheap. Normally, another threatening challenge is that ground water that gets tapped from boreholes may usually possess some salt. All the same, secondary treatment options are always in place. Categorically, it is vividly noticeable that ground water harvesting is a feasible technique of increasing freshwater supply in arid areas. Rationally, The National Academy of Sciences (2001, p. 53) argues that it is relatively easy and inexpensive to drill and maintain water boreholes. The graph 1.0 below reveals that an increase in the number of boreholes also drilled increases the volume of water supply.
Y –axis shows the volume of water in millions of cubic meters.
X –axis shows the increasing number of boreholes.
Desalination refers to the turning or rather enhancement of the salty sea water into fresh consumable water by extracting the salt present in the sea water. Accordingly, desalination is broadly feasible most importantly in guaranteeing the fresh water supply in arid localities of the world. Moreover, desalination extracts nearly all the contaminants available in drinking water. As of the year 2002, Shemang & Chaoka (2004 n.p.) said that there existed roughly 12,500 desalination plants that produced approximately 14 million cubic meters of fresh consumable water on a daily basis. Compared to underground boreholes desalination plants cost roughly five billion pounds to establish (Shemang & Chaoka 2004 n.p.). Additionally, the cost of maintaining the plants is relatively high. However, the cost is gradually decreasing due to invention of cheaper methods. There exists a reality that water production from desalination plants is comparatively stumpy with respect to consumption of fresh water. Regardless of the cited reality, desalination plants formulate significant contributions in the fresh water supply to arid areas (Markham 2012, n.p.). Therefore, through installation of additional desalination plants in arid regions, a significant rise in the production of fresh water in arid regions would get established.
Particularly, countless nations in arid regions are already implementing desalination plant systems to improve their supply of fresh water. For example, nations that are set up in the Middle East including; Saudi Arabia coupled with United Arab Emirates and Bahrain depend considerably on desalinated fresh water (Koundouri 2006, p.116). A number of the cited nations have significantly reported an increase economic growth. The cited report is because there exists an increased desalination process. Agreeably, fresh water supply is vital for economic advancements.
Additionally, specific areas present in the United States are often empty of natural freshwater sources. The cited regions include; Florida and California. However, the mentioned regions have effectively installed desalination, thereby, increasing their freshwater supply. In spite of lacking natural fresh water sources, California and Florida both have imperatively reported significant economic growth, together with the development (Perlman 2014, n.p.). The cited economic development results from the implementation of desalination. The mentioned, further provides more evidence with regards to the feasibility of implementing the desalination as a valuable resource of fresh water in arid regions.
3.3 Recycling of Waste Water.
Prevalently, sewage involves human waste that can get treated, under a careful condition, to generate freshwater safe for human consumption (Mays, 2009, p.112). Notably, recycling of wastewater occurs in biological water treatment plants. A relevant example refers to the Durban wastewater recycling plant available in South Africa. The cited plant purifies approximately 4000 cubic meters of wastewater for industrial consumption. Nevertheless, the mentioned method of providing water supply involves convincing the populace that the water is a hundred percent fit and safe for human utilization. Compared to other means of recycling, municipal wastewater is both economical and safe. The initial cost of establishing a recycling plant is often approximated at fifteen billion pounds. Similarly, though not costly, frequent maintenance costs is often essential. Therefore, the required finances for recycling are minimal, apart from the early stages of establishing the waste treatment plant. Notably, it is arguable that the cited recycling technique is feasible and can significantly assist in restoring large amounts of waste water for use in arid areas. The graph 2.0 below illustrates that by increasing the number of recycling plants, there is often an increased volume of available fresh water.
Y –axis represents volume of water in millions of cubic meters
X –axis represents the number of plants
4.0 Recommendation and Conclusion
In conclusion, from the above discussion, the paper has widely evaluated the feasibility of three varied relevant techniques that could get implemented in supplying fresh water to arid areas. The discussed techniques include; harvesting of groundwater coupled with desalination and recycling waste water. Necessarily, due to the elevating demand for freshwater, as well as, concerns brought by climatic changes, governments in arid localities have to take charge. The mentioned governments must recognize and embrace the importance of inventing alternatives to increase the volumes of freshwater supply. The paper has clearly revealed that harvesting of groundwater coupled with desalination and recycling waste water are feasible techniques that can be used to supply fresh water in arid areas. Categorically, wastewater treatment and desalination require intensive technological, coupled with skilled personnel to implement, which is dissimilar to the harvesting of groundwater through the use of boreholes. A proper assessment reveals that all the methods are economically feasible and can guarantee a sustainable supply of fresh water in arid areas, but the harvesting of ground water is the most reliable. Harvesting of ground water would be the most recommended for the arid areas and countries because of its reliability. Also, ground water harvesting is cheap, and it would greatly assist the third world nations that are located in the arid areas.
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