Water is one of the basic needs that human beings require daily for drinking, washing, irrigation, and industrial processes. Although oceans, lakes, seas, rivers, and other water bodies cover a large part of the world, some arid regions experience a shortage of water. Therefore, countries in these arid areas have tried several options, which aim at providing and sustaining the amount of freshwater to their citizens and upgrade their livelihoods. Some of the options used by countries to increase the amount of fresh water include the construction of dams, pumping water from the ground, and the use of pipelines to supply water. Hence, the report assesses the feasibility of different techniques used in providing fresh water to arid regions of the world.
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Arid areas of the world experience a shortage of fresh water since they receive limited rainfall and experience frequent dry seasons that lead to droughts and famines. Sandy soils, which are highly porous, are the main soils found in these arid regions of the world. The presence of sandy soils, which are highly porous, extended droughts, and short rainy seasons, make the regions support a very little plant and animal life. The little animal and plant life supported by the arid regions of the world is because it suffers a pronounced shortage of fresh water. Rijsberman (2006) explains that problems related to malnutrition and scarcity of fresh water are high in many arid areas such as Sahara in North Africa. Due to a high shortage of fresh water in these regions, countries, and states have proposed several innovations so that they could increase the availability of fresh water in arid regions of the world.
Little rainfall and shortage of water in arid regions have resulted in problems such as reduced agricultural productivity, low economic development, and health problems such as malnutrition. Therefore, countries and states in arid regions try to ensure that their citizens have access to fresh water because it is one of the basic needs and a human right. The need to increase the amount of fresh water in arid regions of the world has led to the development of dams, construction of boreholes, and use of pipelines in arid areas (Nilsson & Berggren, 2000). Boreholes help in pumping water from the ground while pipelines supply water from water bodies to arid regions. Construction of dams and boreholes transpired because of the need to conserve and sustain water in arid regions. Thus, states and countries encourage their residents living in arid areas to conserve water and avoid wastage.
Comparison of Options
Although countries and states can provide fresh water to the populations in arid areas, the high cost is prohibitive. Bond, Lake, and Arthington (2008) state that dams, boreholes, and pipelines are some of the options, which arid regions can adopt in providing fresh water for their agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses. The costs of using these options vary according to their construction, use, and maintenance. For instance, construction of dams is expensive, as it requires expansive land, expensive earthmoving machines, planting of vegetations in catchment areas, and maintaining the safety of the water.
Comparatively, construction of dams is not only expensive but also takes a long period for them to be functional in supplying water, as opposed to other options like boreholes and pipelines, which take a relatively short time to be operational. The drilling of boreholes is expensive because it requires drilling machines, which are very expensive and hardly available in developing countries. The use of pipelines is the cheapest because it entails the construction of pipelines from rivers to arid areas. Construction of pipelines and pumping machines are necessary. Thus, construction of pipelines is relatively cheaper than the construction of dams since it is affordable even to the residents of the arid regions.
Technology and location are other considerations related to the options used by countries and states to provide fresh water to the people living in arid areas. The drive to develop water management options transpires due to the scarcity of water in arid areas (Rijsberman, 2006). As dams require extensive land, they cause displacement of people living in locations designated for their construction. The poor construction and development of dams lead to loss of lives and property when they burst their banks.
On the other hand, ground water pumps and the use of pipelines are less demanding in terms of location and expertise. Development, use, and maintenance of ground water pumps and pipelines are less complex and less expensive compared to dams. Some people in the arid areas can even participate and easily understand the use of pipelines or groundwater pumps. Construction of boreholes and dams can take place anywhere provided the water table is not deep beneath the hard rocks, unlike dams, which need specific areas. Conversely, the use of pipelines to transmit water to arid areas can sometimes result in challenges such as their passage through conflicting territories, leakages, or damages of the pipelines.
Quality of Water
Dams, boreholes, and pipelines are some of the options used in the supply of fresh water to arid regions. These options have different results based on their construction, use, and maintenance. According to Bond, Lake, and Arthington (2008), dams and other water management options are very important in the conservation of fresh water in arid areas. Remarkably, properly designed and used dams provide water that is of good quality and can meet human demands in agricultural, domestic, and industrial uses. High quality of water produced by dams transpires because dams are free from frequent pollution and are in high quantities. Ground water pumps depend on the water table of the area designated for drilling. Hence, groundwater pumps are highly vulnerable to pollution from elements that seep into the ground, such as leaked agricultural chemicals and industrial chemicals released into the soil, which contaminate underground water. The vulnerability of pipelines to breakages, leakages, or diversion can affect the quality of water delivered to arid regions.
In the quest to supply fresh water to individuals in arid regions, countries need to assess the costs and expenses associated with options like dams, boreholes, and pipelines. The positive impacts the viable option must outweigh the expenditure incurred in its development, use, and maintenance in terms of quality and quantity of fresh water, as well as sustainability. Some of the recommendations that can help countries in the supply of fresh water to individuals in arid and semi-arid regions include dam construction and small-scale use of ground water pumps. Although dams are expensive compared to boreholes and pipelines, they provide fresh water of high quality. Therefore, to increase the quality of fresh water in arid areas, countries and states need to invest in the construction of dams.
The need for countries to construct dams is because the costs associated with their construction are high and private investors and people living in arid regions may not afford. Small-scale users of water, such as farmers, who use water for domestic and agricultural purposes, need the support from the state in the construction of dams. Supply of fresh water from boreholes is limited to small-scale activities and domestic use, and thus, cannot be an optimal solution towards the sustained provision of fresh water in arid areas. Furthermore, pumps are susceptible to pollution from agricultural and industrial chemicals. The use of pipelines is subject to leakages, breakages, and diversions; therefore, it is not an optimal option of providing fresh water in arid regions. Hence, countries should not use the pipeline as the best option of providing fresh water to people living in arid areas.
Water is a basic need and a human right that is essential for human life. People need water for various uses such as agricultural, domestic, or industrial uses. However, some parts of the world that are arid suffer from inadequate rainfall and long droughts. Due to little rainfall and long droughts, arid regions experience scarcity of water. Countries have devised options that help to increase the amount of water available for people living in arid areas. Some of the options devised by countries include the construction of dams, boreholes, and pipelines. These options aim at increasing the amount of water available in arid regions. Dams help in serving the requirements of a large number of people, whereas ground water pumps are useful in meeting small-scale needs such as domestic and agricultural needs. Conversely, the use of pipeline is highly susceptible to damage, diversion, and leakages, and thus, it is not an optimal option of providing fresh water in arid areas.
Bond, R, Lake, S, & Arthington, H 2008, ‘The Impacts of Drought on Freshwater Ecosystems: An Australian Perspective’, Hydrobiologia, vol. 600, no. 1, pp. 3-16.
Nilsson, C, & Berggren, K 2000, ‘Alterations of Riparian Ecosystems Caused by River Regulation Dam operations have caused global-scale ecological changes in riparian ecosystems: How to protect river environments and human needs of rivers remains one of the most important questions of our time’, Bioscience, vol. 50, no. 9, pp. 783-792.
Rijsberman, R 2006, ‘Water scarcity: fact or fiction?’, Agricultural Water Management, vol. 80, no. 1, pp. 5-22.