Water Resource Issues
Water resources refer to the sources of water that are harnessed by human beings for household purposes, agricultural, industrial use, recreational facilities like swimming pools and eventually for environmental activities. Besides human beings, all other forms of life on planet earth are entirely supported by the use of water. Out of all the water on planet earth, 97% is salty water while 3% is fresh water (Pearce, 2006). Examples of water resources include lakes, oceans, rivers, seas, ponds, and dams. What needs to be understood is that most of the human uses of water require fresh water.
There are various factors that pose different levels of challenges to the natural and proper existence of these water resource bodies. These factors may be caused by human activities or natural occurrences. They are outlined in the table below.
Freshwater Resource Challenge
Growing demand for water.
The ever-increasing population of human beings has caused a lot of strain on the fresh water resources. It has become challenging to meet the need and demand for each individual users of water resource.
Fresh water Pollution.
Fresh water resources are polluted through lack of proper waste disposal practices especially in cities and towns. Use of fertilizers in agricultural practices directly pollutes fresh water resources.
Wastewater containing heavy metals from industries is also susceptible to polluting the waters.
Diversion of fresh water.
There are instances where water from rivers have been diverted into dams for purposes of generating electricity. Fresh water has also been diverted for irrigation and industrial use.
Ocean Water Resource Challenge
Sophisticated fishing technology and ever growing demand for fish has led to overexploitation of the fish resources.
Destruction of natural habitats.
This is an ocean water challenge whereby fishing equipment and nets such as trawl nets destroy the natural habitat of the ocean creatures. Notably the coral reefs and others.
Putting up of huge hotels along the coastal areas for the tourists have led to destruction of mangrove forests along the coastal lines.
There are many challenges that are facing both the fresh water and the ocean water bodies. Just to mention a few, pollution, overfishing, increased demand and by-catch. Am going to deal with the issue of over fishing.
Overfishing is the harvesting of fish at a higher rate than the rate at which the fish are reproducing. Overfishing has been identified as the major problem facing the water resources. It has led to extinction of some valuable fish species and over exploitation of the fish resources. In addition to that it has contributed in affecting the ocean negatively in the following ways: an imbalance in the ecosystem, depletion of the fish stock, decrease in the growth rates of fish and severe levels of the biomass (Clover, 2004).
Overfishing has majorly been caused by advancement in technology whereby fishermen are able to use more sophisticated fishing trawlers. With this technology the fishermen can also be able to go on fishing expeditions, which last several days until their targeted catch is attained. This has been made possible by refrigeration and canning processes, which can take place in the seas using their fishing equipment.
Another factor that has led to overfishing is the increasing demand for fish as a source of protein for people. Consequently, this has meant increased fishing activities so as to meet the rising demand while at the same time making a decent living out of fishing. The belief that some fish species are of high medicinal value has led to their over exploitation.
While at the process of fishing, the fishermen’s net tend to catch unwanted sea creatures. For instance, if one is fishing for codfish and then he ends up getting dolphins and turtles, this constitutes by-catch. Statistics indicate that 30% of the catch is usually by-catch, which ends up dying and being thrown back into the sea (Clover, 2004).
Concerted efforts need to be put in place to control the fishing activities. A balance needs to be arrived at while getting fish for human consumption and preserving rare fish species for future generations as well as maintaining environmental balance.
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Robin L; Winemiller, Kirk (2005). Overfishing of inland waters. Bioscience, 5
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Century. Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-8572-3 ISBN 978-0-8070-8572-1