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Environmental Justice and Water: Quality, Affordability and Sustainable Use. Facing the Dilemmas of the XXI Century Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2019

Introduction: Water Supply in the XXI Century. Threats and Opportunities

The nature-vs.-nurture conflict will, probably, never go away. Posing a number of ethical questions to the entire population of the Earth, it persuades people to make choices that define the quality of their future life. The question regarding water quality and supply is one of such dilemmas.

Despite the fact that in the XXI century, environmental awareness was raised considerably and the exhaustion of resources was mentioned several times as the key threat to not only major industries and enterprises, but also to civilians, with the lack of bare necessities being the possible threat, the misuse of water resources still remains a major issue.

Sustainable use of the existing water resources can be seen as a more reasonable alternative to the issue under discussion. However, in addition to the environmental approach, an adequate economic strategy must be provided so that the costs for sustainability should not skyrocket immediately afterwards.

Regarding the Motivation: Health Concerns, Environmental Issues and Technology

The motivations for the given paper to be produced are rather simple. Living in the world of consumerism, most people are used to use the sources provided to them without thinking of what the possible aftereffects of excessive use of the given sources may lead to.

While in case with renewable resources, the problem concerning excessive and thoughtless abuse of the existing sources may not be as complicated as one may think it is, with the resources, the mount of which is restricted, resource abuse will eventually lead to a catastrophe.

More importantly, the given catastrophe will occur not only on environmental level, but also on a range of other levels, including social, socio-cultural, political, and, primarily, economical and financial levels.

Current State of Debate: Silencing the Problem or Searching for the Solution?

It would be wrong to claim that at present, the issue regarding the use of water, water supplies, water pollution, and other related issues, is not being discussed. On the contrary, there have been a number of complaints concerning the misuse of water and its scarcity.

Moreover, the concerns about water pollution have also reappeared in the media recently, giving enough food for discussing the issue of industrial waste dumping and the notorious oil spills. Nevertheless, the discussion seems unusually slow and lacking in arguments from both sides of the conflict.

The given phenomenon can be explained in several ways, the key one being that the economical concerns are the top priority for a number of states at present given the globalization process (Anand 18).

The Adopted Approach and Its Strengths: Taking Care of Water Resources

Before going any further, it should be emphasized that there are several types of water, i.e., fresh water/tap water (also known as domestic water), which is safe for consumption, and industrial water, which is supplied to major companies for technical purposes (cooling, for the most part). The concept of sustainability is a good idea to raise awareness concerning the lack of water resources.

In addition, it is important that the given approach does not demand that the target audience should learn new information – based on the old concept of reasonable water use, it recycles the same idea concerning environmental safety that was popular all over the world in the 80s (Hillstrom and Hillstrom 226).

Sustainable Usage of Water and Its Disadvantages: Major Failures

The concept of sustainable use, however, also has its problems. Aiming at shaping people’s perception of the value of water, the given approach appeals to people’s emotions rather than it does to their reasonability.

In addition, it fails to understand what it takes for people to change, since it addresses the need to preserve the environment, whereas it should describe the economical aftermath of water scarcity. As long as people are not affected by the water scarcity issue personally, they will never take actions to prevent water overuse, which the proponents of sustainability movement clearly fail to understand.

Striving for the Policies Reconsideration: What Can Be Improved

The current approach leaves much to be desired in terms of the use of water resources, the principles in accordance with which water is supplied to the end customer, the quality of water, etc.

More to the point, the sustainability principle, which seems completely flawless in theory, might not work in the environment of high competition rates, where the pursuit of monetary reward tops the list of priorities, and the necessity to solve the environmental issues is hardly even recognized.

In the given situation, it is reasonable to suggest that one should raise awareness concerning the significance of fresh water resources, as well as extreme scarcity of the latter.

While getting people to panicking about their water resources does not seem a legitimate solution to the existing problem of water scarcity and its effects on the environment, it is still highly recommendable that the means to cut overuse of water and raise people’s awareness concerning the exhaustibility of supply water resources, as well as suggest supplying a part of these resources to the states that need it badly seems a legitimate solution to the problem.

In contrast to the aforementioned suggestion, the strategy that is currently employed into water supply process appears to be more than unreasonable; if it continues for another couple of decades, it might lead to a statewide, if not continent wide, environmental catastrophe.

Conclusion: Reinventing the Existing Water Usage System. Sustainability at Its Best

The existing policies on water usage are far from being flawless, seeing how more water than required is used on a regular basis; consequently, new policies concerning water supply, as well as its use, should be introduced so that the concept of sustainable water usage should be implanted into the U.S. system of water supply.

The implementation of the given changes, however, is bound to take considerable time, since the new water usage system will most likely require not only reinstallation of the existing technology, but also the reinvention of people’s perception concerning the way in which water should be used, or how valuable water is, for that matter.

Therefore, the key problem concerns the methods of introducing sustainability into the state system of water supply, as well as promoting the concept of sustainability to the U.S. citizens.

However, in order to improve the current system of fresh water disposal, one will have to consider the problem not only from the environmental standpoint, but also from the economical one. In other words, it will be necessary to come up with the suggestion that can be utilized globally. Among the existing options, the creation of a global freshwater market (Kvint 20) seems the most legitimate.

By introducing economical principles into the sustainability policy, the states lacking water resources will be able to acquire the necessary amounts of water for a relatively low price, while the states supplying these resources will obtain small yet regular revenues, therefore, designing new and improved means of controlling water usage, as well as the impact of industries on water quality and the opportunities to avoid excessive use of the existing water resources.

While the costs for fresh water transportation to the states that lack water resources might be the cause for a financial concern, the money saved by reducing the amounts of water consumed by the citizens of the state will help provide less fortunate states with the required resource.

Basically, the given solution presupposes that a global water market should be created, where water could be seen as both a valuable resource and a merchandize that can be bought or exchanged for a particular service.

While the terms for the operation of such market are yet to be defined, the “water market” will definitely be a major breakthrough in the sustainable use of water resources, contributing to both economy and health improvement.

At present, it is highly advisable that the idea of reasonable use of water should be introduced to the U.S. citizens; thus, additional funds will emerge so that water quality could be upgraded a few notches. The given policy is recommendable not only for the U.S., but also for a range of states with plentiful water resources.

The less water is wasted in domestic and industrial settings, the more opportunities there will be for transporting water to the states where the given resources are scarce. With an efficient strategy on water use and the promotion of sustainability principles, water resources may possibly be replenished.

Works Cited

Anand, Peter B. Scarcity, Entitlements, and the Economics of Water in Developing Countries. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd. 2007. Print.

Hillstrom, Kevin and Laurie Collier Hillstrom. Europe: A Continental Overview of Environmental Issues. Santa-Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. 2003. Print.

Kvint, Vladimir. The Global Emerging Market: Strategic Management and Economics. New York, NY: Routledge. 2009. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Environmental Justice and Water: Quality, Affordability and Sustainable Use. Facing the Dilemmas of the XXI Century'. 22 April.

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