WATER CASE IN THE WORLD
Water resources have always played an important role in history of
civilizations. Today water gains ground as a vital part of life and the ecosystem.
Water is a source for sustainable agriculture, energy generation, industry and
tourism, besides being a main human need. Water, a vital source for human
beings and other living organisms is a limited source. The availability of
utilizable water in nature changes in time and with location. In other words the
amount of water is constant but the distribution of water resources over the
world is unbalanced.
Total quantity of water in the world is around 1.4 million km3 and 1.365 million
km3 of which is saline water (% 97,5) and 35 million km3 is fresh water (% 2,5).
97 % of this fresh water is found as underground water. Utilizable amount of
fresh water found in lakes, rivers, dams‟ reservoirs constitute only
0.3 % of total fresh water and 90 % of fresh water resources are found at
poles and underground, which shows us the scarcity of fresh water available.
The distribution of water resources in continents with their population
percentages are given in the table below.
In the last century world’s population increased three times whereas the
demand to water increased seven times. According to the results of the studies
carried by UN, World Bank and some other water institutions in 2000‟s, 50 to
100 milliard dollars is needed to decrease the number of people to half, having
no access to clean water resources. It is expected that more than 3 milliard
people will face water scarcity upon 2025.
WATER CASE IN TURKEY
Turkey is a water stress country in terms of its water resources.
Renewable water resources of Turkey is decreasing in quantity, when
increasing consumption due to the facts of population growth, urbanization
and industrialization, is considered.
Annual precipitation amount is 501 milliard
m³ 37 % of which (186 milliard m³) is surface runoff and 95 milliard m³ of its is
economically utilizable. The renewable water potential is 234 milliard m3 and
41 milliard m³ of its is underground water and 193 milliard m³ is rivers. The
economically and technically utilizable under ground water potential is 12
milliard m³ annually. 8.8 milliard m³ of its is allocated by DSI and 6 milliard of its
is recently used. 95 milliard m³ of the utilizable underground and surface
water potential of Turkey is obtained from national rivers and 3 milliard m³
from neighbouring rivers making in total 98 milliard m³. The underground
potential is 12 milliard m³ . However these resources are distributed unevenly.
Turkey is not a rich country in terms of
existing water potential. Turkey is a water stress country according to annual
volume of water available per capita. The annual exploitable amount of water
has recently been approximately 1,500 m3 per capita. Turkish Statistical
Institute (TURKSTAT) has estimated Turkey's population as 100 million by 2030.
So, the annual available amount of water per capita will be about 1,000 m3 by
2030. The current population and economic growth rate will alter water
consumption patterns. As population increases, annual allocated available
amount of water per person will decrease.
For nearly all human purposes, we need freshwater as it occurs on land.
Salt water as it occurs in the ocean is not useful for drinking, washing, cooking,
field irrigation or for most applications in industry. Salt water can be
desalinized,but this is a costly and energy-intensive process.
In short, humans mainly depend on
freshwater as it occurs on land. Although water forms a cycle, so that
freshwater on land is continuously replenished, its availability is not unlimited.
Per year, people need a certain volume of water for domestic, agricultural and
industrial purposes, which cannot exceed the annual replenishment rate. The
major question is therefore: how much freshwater is available over a certain
period and what is man’s actual appropriation of this flow in this period? Water
footprint accounting provides the data for answering the second half of the
question. The water footprint basically expresses human appropriation of
freshwater in volume terms. Comparing man’s water footprint with the actual
freshwater availability is part of a water footprint sustainability assessment
The water footprint is an indicator of freshwater use that looks not only
at direct water use of a consumer or producer, but also at the indirect water
use. It means that every product such as meat, egg, T-shirt, boots…etc. needs
water in the process of producing. Water is not visible but it’s needed to
produce food, goods and services thay you consume every day. Water footprint
measures the volume of freshwater used along the entire food chain from
production to waste disposal. It is given water footprints of some products in
the following list:
Water foodprints of some products
A portion of red meat (200 gr) 3.100 liters
A portion white meat (200 gr) 780 liters
A sliceof bread 40 liters
A cup of coffee 208 liters
A glass of tea 30 liters
A glass of milk (It is five times more than powder milk.) 200 liters
A portion rice 150 liters
A cube sugar 7,5 liters
A portion cheese ( 75 gr) 375 liters
A packet of potato chip (200 gr) 185 liters
A glass of beer bira 75 liters
A glass of wine 120 liters
A hamburger 2.400 liters
An orange 50 liters
A glass of orange juice (200 ml) 170 liters
A A4 paper10 liters
A pair of leather shoes 8.000 liters
One can argue that consumers are responsible for what they consume,
so they are also responsible for the indirect resource use related to their
consumption pattern. In this sense, consumers have responsibility for their
water footprint and should undertake action to ensure that their water
footprint is sustainable. Finally, water is a public good, so governments cannot
withdraw from their responsibility to put proper regulations and incentives in
place to ensure sustainable production and consumption. It will be maintained
here that consumers, producers, investors and governments all have a shared
responsibility. From a global point of view, reducing the water footprint has a
vital importance for the humanbeings.
Consumers can reduce their direct water
footprint (home water use) by installing water-saving toilets, applying a watersaving showerhead, turning off the tap during teeth-brushing, using less water
in the garden and by not disposing of medicines, paints or other pollutants
through the sink. The indirect water footprint of a consumer is generally much
larger than the direct one. A consumer can basically change the consumption
pattern by substituting a specific consumer product that has a large water
footprint by another type of product that has a smaller water footprint.
Examples include: eating less meat or becoming vegetarian, drinking plain
water instead of coffee, or wearing less cotton and more artificial fibre clothes.
This approach has limitations, because many people do not easily shift from
eating meat to being vegetarian and people like their coffee and cotton.
However every person has something to reduce consumption of water as
an individual. Every day you can do something and you can choose to reduce
consumption. By reducing consumption by 2500 liters, each of us can
contribute to the water nedded for 50 people. Reduce waste! Remember:
whenever you throw away a slice of bread you are wasting 40 liters of water,
whenever you throw away an apple you are wasting 70 liters of water,
whenever you throw away an egg you are wasting 135 liters of water.