- The supplies of freshwater resources are inequitably available and unevenly distributed, which can lead to conflict and concerns over water security.
- Freshwater resources can be sustainably managed using a variety of different approaches.
Knowledge and understanding:
- Access to an adequate freshwater supply varies widely.
- Climate change may disrupt rainfall patterns and further affect this access.
- As populations, irrigation and industrialization increase, the demand for fresh water increases.
- Freshwater supplies may become limited through contamination and unsustainable abstraction.
- Water supplies can be enhanced through reservoirs, redistribution, desalination, artificial recharge of aquifers and rainwater harvesting schemes. Water conservation (including grey-water recycling) can help to reduce demand but often requires a change in attitude by the water consumers.
- The scarcity of water resources can lead to conflict between human populations, particularly where sources are shared.
Applications and skills:
- Evaluate the strategies that can be used to meet an increasing demand for fresh water.
- Discuss, with reference to a case study, how shared freshwater resources have given rise to international conflict.
- Unequal access to fresh water can cause conflict between countries that have an abundance of fresh water and those that do not.
Theory of knowledge:
- Aid agencies often use emotive advertisements around the water security issue— to what extent can emotion be used to manipulate knowledge and actions?
- Climate change—causes and impacts (7.2)
- Terrestrial food production systems and food choices (5.2)
- Aquatic food production systems (4.3)
- Resource use in society (8.2)
- Sustainability (1.4)