Australia's Water Woes
Living in urbanised areas, it’s hard to think about water scarcity as a pressing issue. One turn of the tap and we are gifted with a stream of perfectly purified water, tailored to the exact temperature we desire, and expendable to fulfil our daily needs. But the reality is that globally, and in Australia, the lack of fresh water is a crisis, and one that is only getting worse. Underpinned by unsustainable human extraction of groundwater and underdeveloped water infrastructure, the issue is being aggravated by climate change, which has catalysed sporadic rain patterns and cloud movement away from the equator to already precipitated areas.
The result is a global undersupply of fresh water which is unable to keep up with the world’s rapid population increase. As a result, over 1.2 billion people around the world lack access to clean drinking water. While water poverty is a highly visible issue, corporate, government and individual consumption have failed to accommodate for this increasing scarcity. In Australia, a massive 70% of fresh water is used just for the agricultural industry, and much of this is wasted due to inefficiencies in production processes. These unsustainable farming practises, fuelled by mass-demand of agricultural produce, are only exacerbating the problem, sucking the earth dry of the limited resources have.
The fact is that the Australian water crisis is a lot worse than most people realise and isn't covered nearly as much in mainstream media nearly enough. But if we look into 2018 weather patterns it becomes clear that 2018 was a year of heat, drought and fire. The most affected local areas are centered around NSW and Victoria with the department of primary industries identifying 100% of NSW as affected by drought, and 31% experiencing intense drought as of 26th of March 2019.
So water-we going to do about it? Individual consumption patterns may help. As a starting point, reduce your household usage: cut down your shower times, use that half-flush button and opt for energy-efficient appliances (look out for those five stars the next time you’re buying a washing machine or dishwasher).
But the truth is, it’s going to take a whole lot more than this. Until agricultural water consumption is significantly reduced, we won't be able to adequately address the issue. This starts with the necessity to adopt alternative and sustainable food growing methods to replace conventional farming practises. And we believe that this starts with innovative technologies such as hydroponics, allowing corporations and individuals such as yourselves to grow your own produce. It is only through this that we can spark a societal shift away from mass agricultural production, to one which is sustainable and ecological, thereby allowing for a reduction in water consumption, and preserving the scarce resources we need to survive.
By Hersha Gupta
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