Water, the source of future

Why is it important to treasure our freshwater? The healthy freshwater stock of Earth fit for human consumption is not limitless. Moreover, the stock is much smaller than one would think though the size of all the bodies of water on Earth combined is 1.6 M km3, 82% of it is salt water of oceans and seas on our Planet.​

Subsurface waters are the golden reserve of Earth. Scientists specializing in water research value the amount of subsurface water to be approximately 16% of all of the bodies of water on Earth. The rest 2% is made up of fresh water, of the water content of the atmosphere and living creatures. 

The picture is even more dramatic if we take a closer look beyond these facts.

Although 2/3 of the surface of our Planet is covered with water, less than 3% of it is fresh water. Moreover, the bulk of our surface water is in frozen form, found in glaciers and in territories belonging to the realm of eternal snow and ice. This also means that humanity and the part of flora and fauna whose survival depends on fresh water has to share among each other no more than 0.01% of the total water reserve of our Planet.

This means that water is one of the most outstanding strategic resources of the future. One of the most important questions of our present and future is the finite and moreover, continuously and alarmingly decreasing quantity of fresh water fit for human consumption. Realising the dynamic growth of the human race and the parallel process of the depletion of natural resources give a special emphasis to the question, is growth in its present form sustainable on one hand, and how can the healthy water supply be granted, on the other hand.

The contaminating nature of our industrial revolution has not only led to the apace pollution of subsurface waters during the past few decades. The results of UN research also shows that the byproducts of industrial activity, the unpurified wastewater and pollution caused by trash are direct threats to subsurface water bases. 

Since it is impossible to sustain a wealthy life without wealthy water, one of the most serious challenges of the future of humanity is to confine water contamination, as well as the development of water purification technologies, the rationalization of water management and the protections of water bases. Just as important as these issues is the significant increase of the number of people in all countries provided with healthy running drinking water and also with the highest hygienic conditions possible.

These questions are not only problems of developing countries. The quality of running water causes problems in many regions of the first world as well. The high quality of running water in Budapest is one of the bright exceptions of European capitals. But while the task in Europe and the Unites States of America is the perfection of water purification technologies and full sanitation, in a number of countries of the world access to water needed for life is in itself troublesome for the population, not to speak of the quality of running drinking water.

These problems cause constant or temporary difficulties for one third of the peoples already while according to prognosis based on current trends show that the number of people distressed by water shortages can reach 5 billion by the middle of the century.

The inescapable importance of one of the key questions of our future is underlined by the challenges in the area of water management. As a result of the climate change it becomes more acute to ensure agriculture and industry with needed water. Weather becoming more and more intemperate causes some phenomena to become more frequent. Phenomena such as water shortages caused by drought in many places, or exactly the opposite, much too much precipitation and floods caused by it resulting in an increasing waywardness.

An important tool on the road to stop the chemical and biological contamination of our drinking water reserves is the development of sanitation and of water purification technologies, the increasing protection of water bases and the development of the infrastructure needed for efficient water management. An integral part of this process is the increasingly close cooperation of the countries of the world in order to ensure the sustainable development of humanity and the survival life forms needing fresh water.

Since the main threat to the quality of water is caused by deeds of civilization, it is urgent to find answers to these problems faced by humanity as soon as possible. As the danger was caused by man himself the solutions also depend on him. It hinges on the following: to what extent are we able to realize that water is important not only to quench our thirst but also because it is the source of our mutual future.