"Water, water hardly anywhere." That is the opening sentence of a very interesting article by Martin Sieff that recently ran on the United Press International site, and I can't think of any better way to capture the reality of the situation than that brief statement.
The article does a superb job of outlining the issue of water shortages that is just beginning to rear its ugly head in some areas and is expected (even by the most optimistic experts) to get exponentially worse in the very near future. The issue is a multi-faceted one, but for me all aspects of the problem have a common source: overpopulation.
In 1939, world population sat at or below 2.3 billion people (source). Now in 2009, just 70 years later, it tops 6.7 billion (source), an increase of 291%. So, not only have we nearly tripled the number of people consuming this resource outright, but we've expanded to the point where our use of water for agriculture in order to feed people has grown to outrageous extents as well. As a result, aquifers are drained quicker than nature can refill them and so on. It all comes back to overpopulation and there is no light at the end of the tunnel; current estimates place world population somewhere around 9.2 billion (source) by the year 2050.
Further, this issue is exacerbated by the fact that as our population continues to balloon, we are forced to extend human habitation into areas where we are totally dependent on modern infrastructure in order to survive. If this infrastructure fails even for a few weeks, and I believe it someday will, cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas will no longer be habitable at all.
Folks, please take the time to think about your water situation. You should not only have a plan in place, but a backup plan... and your backup plan should have a backup plan. A mere few days without clean water could kill you. A drilled well is best. Store some bottled water if you can, and buy my water filters and treatments.