Exploring the global water issue on CNBC

University of Waterloo Prof. John Anthony Cherry of the department of environmental and earth science conducted an interview with <em>CNBC</em> March 21 on the subject of water shortages and the growing issues surrounding them.&nbsp;</p>

Water shortages are slowly becoming a bigger issue across the globe, but according to Cherry, “It’s not a global water crisis at the moment; it’s a simmering crisis.” Cherry thinks the addition of two billion people to the global population will push us to the boiling point. He cited two major issues that are currently causing problems: agriculture practices and the lack of clean ground water. 

Essentially, agricultural practices have become unsustainable in their water usage. 

“Much of the agriculture around the globe is using water that is not replenished by rainfall,” Cherry said. This may cause a plethora of problems worldwide in the coming years.

Cherry’s main focus in this interview centred on the issue of the lack of clean ground water for two billion people in the world. Developing this statement further, Cherry explained that it is such a huge problem because of long distances travelled to obtain clean water and rising death rates from drinking dirty or contaminated water. 

Many factors contribute to this growing problem. 

“That’s not a water scarcity; that’s an inability of society to bring the water that’s there to them … and that’s not a government problem; it’s a technology problem,” Cherry said.

“You can’t just arrive with big drill rigs and drill water for people … It’s got to be set up on an entrepreneurial basis so little companies can drill wells and they can be a part of the economy,” Cherry said.

This will not only solve the imminent approaching water crisis, but will also try to fix the economic issues that contribute to making this a big problem in the first place. 

Cherry went on to describe the proposed solution.

“It’s a matter of bringing low technologies to these areas … so that low technology can get them water in a way that is sustainable, and show them how to make money.” 

There is a growing movement to support the introduction and development of simpler technology called the Appropriate Technology Movement.

Cherry calls upon governments and NGOs to get the process started and plant the seeds for success. He reiterated the point that it must be a localized, ground-up conduct to really solve this issue.