What are the effects of water shortages?

The effects of water scarcity can be grouped into these four broad areas — Health, Hunger, Education, and Poverty.

  • Health

In many developing countries, people have no option but to drink low-quality water from flowing streams, many of which are contaminated. There are many water-borne diseases that people die from. 

Less water also means sewage does not flow, and mosquitoes are other insects that breed on still (stagnant) dirty water. The result is deadly malaria and other infections.

Lack of water or quality water causes huge sanitation issues. Clinics, local restaurants, public places of convenience, and many other places are forced to use very little water for cleaning. That compromises the health of the staff and people who use the facilities.

  • Hunger

It takes a lot of water to grow food and care for animals. Experts say that globally we use 70% of our water sources for agriculture and irrigation and only 10% for domestic uses.

Less water means farming, and other crops that need water to grow have a lower yield. It means farm animals will die, and others will not do well without water. The result is constant hunger and thirst and low quality of life. 

  • Education

It is a bit hard to see how water and education are related. For many people in other parts of the world, children have to be up at dawn to collect water for the family. They have to walk for several miles to get water. The children get tired, and some have to miss school as a result. Doing this for many years takes away school times, and the cycle continues. In other places, girls and women are not allowed to go to school at all so that they can serve the family by getting water and taking care of other family needs.

  • Poverty

Access to quality water is key to economic prosperity and better living standards. Businesses and schools thrive when people come to work on time and not have to spend all morning looking for water. Restaurants, hotels, and shopping places need to keep clean to attract tourists and foreign investments. Manufacturing activities, commercial farms, and mining processes all need a lot of water to thrive. Lack of water means no economic activities will happen, and the people will be in constant poverty.