United States of America
The Colorado River is considered the largest river in the Southwestern part of America. Water is in such high demand that the Colorado River is drained of its water supply and hardly ever reaches sea. The southern Great Plains of the U.S., one of the biggest regions of grain production, has had a steady decline of its water tables just like many other worldwide regions. In 2001, over 40,000 residents from Detroit had their water cut off because they could not pay the quarterly charges on water services that the city had imposed on them. States like Florida are adding storage capacity and constructing water towers that could be beneficial in times of droughts. The state of Florida is also trying to manage the saltwater coming into their aquifers during hurricanes. Other states like California will place water limits in some counties. Residents of these counties will build roofs that collect rainwater, get rid of fountains and high water consuming plants, and install more efficient faucets that automatically shut off. The Las Vegas, Nevada population grew by 330,000 and the city still managed to reduce the annual water use to 18 billion gallons over the past five years. Las Vegas pays its homeowners to replace their lawns with desert plants in exchange for a cash rebate. They use recycled or gray water for golf courses, hotel and car cleaning, synthetic waterfalls, and amusement parks. The western half of the United States water tables is dropping due to groundwater exploitation.
The Amu Darya in Central Asia and the Yellow River in China are now dry for almost the entire year. One of the rivers that flow into the Aral Sea is the Amu Darya. Now that the amount of water in the Amu Darya is declining, Asia fears the Aral Sea will one day disappear off the face of the planet. The Yellow River, which is one of China’s chief rivers, has been unable to make it to the Yellow Sea since the year 1985. On occasion the Yellow River has also failed to reach Shandong, which is in close proximity to the sea. China's Hai and Huai rivers have also experienced the same problems like the Amu Darya and the Yellow River. As water tables have fallen, springs have dried up and some rivers have disappeared entirely. The Fen River, a leading water provider for the Shanxi Province, has now vanished. The Fen River is not the only river in China that has disappeared; in the Hebei province nearly 1,000 lakes have already dried out.
Nine out of fourteen countries in the Middle East suffer the effects of water scarcity, which is in part due to the falling water tables caused by the exploitation of groundwater. “Most Mid-Eastern countries suffer from a shortage, and the scarcity of water is used as a political issue and a lever.” Eighty percent of water is used just for agriculture. The problems with water availability have now reached a point that could bring to an end the peaceful existence of these countries and lead to a war. While some rural areas have large amounts of water other more urbanized places have a small supply of water. “By the year 2025 the average net water resources in the Middle East are expected to be less than 700 cubic meters per person per year, half of what they are today.”
In sub-Saharan Africa water is not properly managed distribution wise and is not invested in. This part of Africa has a vast amount of arid and semi-arid land, with most water under private ownership and command. A high demand for water is coming from a large urban population thus causing inter-sectoral conflicts. The countries located in sub-Saharan Africa are “surplus,” water resources are abundant, irrigation is not extensive, and isn’t commonly used. Water quality is a concern and hazard for villagers and marginal urban populations. Kenya and Zimbabwe are experiencing issues with the balance of water and demand.
Over 50% of the Central American population of 35 million lives alongside the Pacific seaboard. The impacts of global warming and degradation could result in a 35% loss of the fresh water located around the coast. The burning of fossil fuels releasing greenhouse gases is the major cause of water scarcity in Central America. Pollution, deforestation, urban chaos and a 3.5 percent a year population growth will also take up a significant role in the availability of safe drinking water. Countries by the pacific seaboard like El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are predicted to experience catastrophic water shortages. Although countries in Central America receive a copious amount of rainfall and contains various rivers, lakes and underground aquifers, the inability to set territorial management plants into action will cause unrest and suffering for the nation and the ecosystem.
Many rural and urban areas in India are facing severe droughts. In 2000, Gujarat experienced the frightening effects of droughts. The next two decades could bring about serious problems due to water management methods. “Faced with poor water supply services, farmers and urban dwellers alike have resorted to helping themselves by pumping out groundwater through tube wells. Today, 70 percent of India’s irrigation needs and 80 percent of its domestic water supplies come from groundwater.” Although this has worked in the past, the over-exploitation of groundwater will not allow them to continue. With the variability and unpredictability of climate change, India’s problems will become even worse. The waste water and sewage has restructured countless rivers into foul cesspools. Without the aid of new infrastructures and management projects the Indian people will be left in complete devastation.