Water pollution & scarcity
The natural water cycle concept states that water cannot be lost, at least not in the sense of a decrease in total water resources. However, overexploitation, water pollution and unsustainable consumption are responsible for a ‘shift’ of available resources. For example, if groundwater resources are used for industrial purposes and not released back into the environment properly, this water is ‘lost’ for other purposes – i.e. drinking water.
Without proper management and stewardship, water resources are disproportionately consumed by products such as clothes, leaving regions to cope with increasing water-stress-related problems.
“In some areas depletion and pollution of economically important river basins and associated aquifers have gone beyond the point of no-return, and coping with a future without reliable water resources systems is now a real prospect in parts of the world.”4
“Important waterways in the Global South are also increasingly threatened by the build-up of hazardous substances, which are impairing their ecological health and their capacity to provide vital resources.”4