Resource Shortage Paper
Water is necessary for maintaining healthy ecosystems as well as for socio-economic developments. As human population increases and development demands additional allocations of surface and ground water for the industrial, agricultural and domestic sectors, the concern on water resources intensifies, bringing about conflicts and tensions among users, as well as too much strain on the environment. The increasing stress on freshwater resources created by wasteful use and ever increasing demand, in addition to the increasing worldwide pollution, is without a doubt of serious concern.
Unfortunately, notwithstanding the water shortages, misuse of water is still prevalent. Large cities and small communities, industries and farmers, industrialized economies and developing countries, particularly Mexico, are mismanaging water resources. The quality of surface water is dwindling in major basins due to industrial and urban wastes; water logging is deteriorating irrigated land productivities; and groundwater is irreversibly damaged by salt water intrusions and persistently contaminated by surface sources. Accordingly, Mexican communities are now regularly experiencing the consequences of the water shortage.
Without a doubt the world’s largest water demand comes from agriculture, given that more than two-thirds of the water extracted from the earth’s aquifers, lakes and rivers is intended for irrigation. Expectedly, domestic expenditure for irrigation dominates the agricultural budgets of Mexico, given that since 1940, an average of 80 percent of government’s public spending in agriculture have been for irrigation projects (Food and Agriculture Organization). Not only is agriculture uses enormous water resource in terms of volume, but it is also a highly subsidized, low-efficiency and relatively low-value water user. These realities are forcing donors and Mexican government to rethink the environmental, social and economic implications of large publicly operated and funded irrigation projects.
Due to the resource shortage, people in Mexico are erratically blaming everything from commercial interests to population growth, yet very few acknowledged that government control itself has also significantly perpetrated and caused the shortage. There is increasing indication that the national government, global commercial interests, and international aid agencies are working together to convert water from a public resource into commercial venture. The water industry is continually exploiting an enormous market, and every year the market increases to 40 percent. In view of the fact that the government is dependent on World Bank for water infrastructure projects assistance, they are pushing reduced public control and full cost recovery. This is changing the course of water issues from rural areas and agrarian basins to the cities, where the clash is on for the management and control of municipal water resources.
Effects of Shortage
Around five million people or a quarter of Mexico City’s urban sprawl population are now constantly witnessing dry taps (Grillo, 2009). The droughts are attributable to the stoppage of the city’s major reservoir system in order to ration the deteriorating water supplies of the region. Families smell the stinking odours of their bathroom, thus forcing them to go outside their houses. As families have no functioning toilets, they are constantly unable to take a bath, they cannot clean their houses and cars, they cannot water their smallholding, they cannot cook, and the worst thing is they almost do not have clean water to drink (Grillo, 2009).
The government needs to be exceptionally focused on issues concerning equity in access to water and on the water distribution policies’ social impacts, rather than concentrating on making water resources into profitable activity and inconsequential irrigation projects. Accordingly, the government must ensure that there should be no distinction amongst groups of people, individuals and projects as far as access and availability of water is concerned. Commoditization of drinking water by private companies allows only upper income group with purchasing power the easy access to safe drinking water and, for that reason, should not be encouraged by the government. Privatization of water supply must not be allowed, as any privatization is restriction or denial of access and, therefore, a human rights violation.
Without a doubt, in order to sustain clean water supply, Mexican government need to improve every sector’s water productivity and simultaneously focus on water allocation strategies and on the efficient use of all water sources that maximize the social, environment and economic returns to limited water resources. Mexican government needs to seriously overhaul its water system policies to avoid profound disasters in the future.
Moreover, the government must continually support alternative systems capable to provide people with clean water. Rainwater harvesting systems, for instance, combines primordial resource management methods along with technological innovation may be valuable alternative in providing sustainable water resource within the rural communities of Mexico. Many studies have validated that these systems are successfully functioning in small, rural communities as well as in large cities around the world. In Bangladesh, for instance, many communities have resorted to numerous successful rainwater collecting projects that eventually encouraged the government to assume responsibility in 1997, and since then have applied over 1,000 cisterns, most of which in rural areas. Apparently, the systems have a great environmental, economic and social impact, as it presents a competitively sound water alternative. Moreover, rainwater collecting projects can be a source of business and jobs within the Mexican communities.
Every human being needs water for livelihood activities as well as for personal consumption. Ultimately, the government is in charge for the provision of these indispensable human needs. It is therefore indispensable to have a long-term and rational plan for management, augmentation, renewal and conservation of the water resources in the country, and most importantly the plan must be environmentally sound, socially just and democratic.
Food and Agriculture Organization. (n.d.). Water Resource Issues and Agriculture. Retrieved May 29, 2009, form http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/003/T0800E/t0800e0a.htm
Grillo, I. TIME online. (2009, April 11). Dry Taps in Mexico City: A Water Crisis Gets Worse. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1890623,00.html