Ever had a friend who lives by the sea? The breathtaking view of the waves and the sound of water hitting the shore and the sea birds hovering for hours and not to forget the breeze. Beach houses or apartments seems like a perfect place to lead a happy life. This article is all about the problems that people would face in terms of availability of pure drinking water.
Natural sources of drinking water vary to the type of region we occupy. Most parts of the interior of the land mass, unless blessed with a perennial river, have to rely on freshwater lakes or the groundwater or rainfall for drinking. The options are lesser for the coastal areas. Rivers reaching the coastal areas are too contaminated for human consumption. Inevitably, the people living in the coastal areas have to rely on groundwater and rainfall for drinking.
Rains have been erratic in the recent years. Groundwater can only gather in a lowered water table so that the water from the sea can be distilled as it passes through the sediments. Although there is an amount of filtering that is happening, TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) levels indicate that the water is still not drinkable unless distilled thoroughly. The experiments conducted by US National Institute of Health at the mega-deltas of Bangladesh and India, state that 25 million people are at risk of drinking ‘saline’ water. This might lead to adverse consequences for health, such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) reports that salinity in the groundwater is increasing day by day due to overexploitation of groundwater and seawater intrusion in the coastal region. Salt water intrusion happens when too much groundwater is extracted. Seawater has higher density and pressure than the freshwater, so the seawater intrudes into the water tables in the coastal region. Thus making groundwater and surface water such as lakes and ponds saline. Technological intervention has become a necessity for a reliable and quick availability of safe drinking water to millions of people.
BARC recommends RO (reverse osmosis) as the best method of distilling water for drinking in coastal regions as their primary function is desalination. According to Columbia University, reverse osmosis (RO) method of purifying water eliminates hardness, ions, metals, virus, bacteria, protozoa and pharmaceuticals. RO purifiers have ultra violet lamps that disinfect the water from all pathogens. The Activated Carbon filtration present in the RO purifiers remove chlorine and pesticides.
Gravity-based UF purifiers do not need electricity, which helps in the places of erratic power supply. RO units are ergonomic and easy to use too, thus making them common people install such devices at home.
Urban areas and industrial zones are usually thriving near rivers and the oceans, therefore affecting the aquatic biosphere. It is vital to treat water from all kinds of contamination.
Coastal regions are surrounded by polluted waters such as the estuaries, ocean, and sewage. Coastal areas are also the most densely populated regions in the world. Livescience predicts that by 2025 most of the populations of the world will migrate to the coastal areas owing to economic factors and the scarcity of basic needs in the inland areas.
The scarcity of pure drinking water is increasing day by day. Also are the risks in consuming untreated groundwater or surface water. Climate change is making rainfall unpredictable. To fight against such threats, the governments and private organisations around the world are trying to come up with easy and cost-effective methods of purifying water. RO purifying method seems to be the best solution so far for coastal regions. Unless we clean the natural resources of water, technological alternatives are the only way.