Water is the most widespread, accessible, and cheapest substance, in which water originated life and came out of it, gradually populating the land and air. Life on Earth is unthinkable, and human activities are incredible without water. The availability and indispensability of this resource have led to its wide use in everyday life, industry, agriculture, medicine, and all areas of human activity. The abundance of water creates global problems associated with its treatment and recycling.
The valuable properties of water and ways of its use can be seen in many aspects of society. This resource is a heat carrier and working body in heat power engineering. Thermal power plants use 32-42 m3 per second of water to produce one gigawatt of electricity (Blokdyk, 2021). In metallurgy, water is used to cool equipment, as a coolant, and as a working body for thermal power plants at every metallurgical plant. Massive artificial reservoirs are created to create water reserves and meet the needs of the hydropower industry. However, their construction should be approached with great caution, as it often results in the loss of large areas of the best agricultural lands and irreparable damage to the populations of the most valuable commercial fish.
In chemistry, water is a solvent, one of the reagents in some chemical reactions, and a medium that allows for the movement of reagents. This resource is of great importance in medicine, as it is a medicine, a means of sanitation and hygiene. The increase in medical care and population growth on planet Earth naturally leads to an increase in water consumption for medical purposes.
Nevertheless, humans have used water resources for a long time and have not experienced water scarcity. However, with the rapid growth of the Earth’s population and its productive activities, human water demand has increased significantly. Today many places around the globe are experiencing a shortage of fresh water for life, industry, and agriculture. This is due to both quantitative and qualitative depletion of water resources. From year to year, the amount of water used by one inhabitant of the planet increases.
The dynamics of global water consumption indicate a significant increase in water consumption volume, and the water consumption trend is changing toward industrial production. Agriculture remains the main water consumer, where the most irreversible water losses are observed, close to 80% (Blokdyk, 2021). The growth of irrigated areas and the amount of irrigation water is caused by both limitations of traditional arable lands in conditions of the demographic explosion, perfection of irrigation systems, and peculiarities of agricultural crops.
The second powerful water consumer is the industry, and the specific weight of this consumer in total water consumption is growing. Although power plants are the most powerful water consumers in industry, they contribute to the thermal pollution of water bodies. Environmental consequences of water pollution are expressed in the following processes: disturbance of ecosystem stability, progressive eutrophication, the appearance of red tides, and accumulation of chemical toxicants in biota. A positive perspective on water usage can be seen in medicine since it can become a part of different physiological procedures or become part of medicines. This type of usage does not cause negative ecological consequences since the water used in this sphere is relatively small. Nevertheless, there is a concern about the future of water usage in other fields of human activity.
The gap between supply and demand is likely to widen further, threatening economic and social development and environmental sustainability. Integrated water resources management will be critical to overcoming water scarcity. In the coming years, the world will face a water crisis of unprecedented proportions. Water resources are diminishing due to population growth, pollution, and expected climate changes. Approximately 2 million tons of waste are discharged daily into rivers, lakes, and seas (Blokdyk, 2021). Irrational economic activity in the Aral Sea basin has led to the widespread destruction of ecosystems. In 40-45 years, the sea level has fallen by over 22 meters, the water area shrank by more than 3.8 times, and the volume of water decreased from 1064 to 115 km3 (Blokdyk, 2021). Due to the drying up of the Aral Sea, a complex set of socio-economic problems of international origin and the level of consequences has developed. Soon, the need for integrated water resource use will increase because of the necessity to solve tasks on reconstructing already obsolete water systems within a market economy. It is necessary to make so that specialists select water supply and drainage systems for settlements and industrial enterprises, taking into account sanitary, technical, ecological, social, and economic requirements.
Thus, during water consumption, water from a water source is withdrawn and used for industrial, agricultural, municipal, and other needs. In water consumption, both qualitative and quantitative depletion of water resources and irreversible water losses are possible. World water consumption grows yearly, and one of the most critical aspects of current water consumption is the possibility of changing its supply’s nature. This procedure can be done due to its purposeful influence on the global water turnover structure.
Blokdyk, G. (2021). Water resources management: A complete guide. 5STARCooks.