“I would like to clarify that this title does not refer to the prized and controversial Petrol. This vital resource is water.”
From 7,126,100,000 inhabitants currently living on the Earth, approximately 19% of world population live in China, 17% live in India and 4.5% live in USA. Those represent the most populated countries in the World and both India and USA overpass World average total of water withdrawal per inhabitant per year. This is without taken into account other types of use such as power plants, mining, recreation, etc.
In an equal and unsustainable world, it means that each person may have available around 1,386.3 litres of water per day, but unfortunately the reality is other:
The United Nations shows percentages of freshwater resources withdrawn referring to the specific source available in each country; therefore it indicates that for example USA (15.57%) and China (19.51%) have very low percentages of withdrawn water. However, if we analyse this data from a realistic point of view, each person in the USA uses 478.4 litres of water per day (households) and consumes 7,781 litres of water per day (2840 cubic meter per year per capita) in products and other activities, this percentage would increase considerably. Moreover, about 20% of this water footprint is external. The largest external water footprint of US consumption lies in the Yangtze River Basin, China.
Additionally China is dangerously short of water. The international definition of water stress is 1,000 cubic metres of usable water per person per year. The average northern Chinese has less than a fifth of that amount. China has 20% of the world’s population but only 7% of its fresh water. In 2012 up to 40 per cent of China’s rivers were seriously polluted and “20 per cent were so polluted that their water quality was rated too toxic even to come into contact with.” Part of the explanation may rest in the “estimated 10,000 petrochemical plants along the Yangtze and 4000 along the Yellow Rivers.”
Another “naturally unfair” region is Africa in where many people must get along with 20 litres of water per day. That is the quantity of water that we use when having a shower for 1,5 minutes. In Africa about 85 % of the water is used in agriculture. Only 10 % is used in households and only 5 % in the industry. Because of the growing population there will be absolutely used more and more water in agriculture.
So, it is not just equality of gender and races main concerns on our society to meet Human Rights. Water is a resource that must be our priority to guarantee the most basic needs for a real social development and therefore sustainable behaviours of our societies on benefit of our green future.