Author: Zack Holmes

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Causes and Effects of Water Scarcity and Droughts

Since water covers a vast majority of the Earth, it could be hard to imagine how it could ever be in short supply. However, only 3% of the world’s water is fresh, and the vast majority of it is inaccessible for human use. As a result, water scarcity is a pressing and important issue for much of the global population. The United Nations sees water scarcity as “scarcity in availability due to the physical shortage, or scarcity in access due to the failure of institutions to ensure a regular supply or due to a lack of adequate infrastructure.”

Around 1.1 billion people have no access to water. Inadequate sanitation is an even bigger issue. Millions of people die each year from water-borne sicknesses like cholera, typhoid fever, and diarrheal diseases. The problem is at its most acute across swaths of Africa, the Middle East, and large parts of Asia. The United Nations has estimated by 2030, half of the global population will be in areas of high water stress.

Why Is Water Scarcity Such a Big Issue?

There is a growing body of research that reaffirms the importance of water in regards to geopolitical stability. Human health and agricultural concerns are also of great importance. Leaders use access to water as a political tool or as a way to consolidate political power. Carl Bruch, the director of international programs at the Environmental Law Institute told Scientific American how instances of drought are often associated with migration and regime change.

The changing global climate has also taken a toll on hydrological systems across the globe. It has hurt the livelihoods of millions of farmers and affecting the foods they produce.

What Are Some of the Causes of Water Scarcity?

One of the largest causes of water scarcity across the world is pollution. Pollution can come in many forms, and almost always makes the water unfit for human consumption. A chemical or oil spill can permanently taint the water. Any industrial waste or fecal matter that is dumped into rivers or oceans without proper treatment pollutes the water. Pesticides and other fertilizer use by farmers can also lead to water pollution if the chemicals seep into the groundwater or in underground aquifers.

The misuse of water resources is another massive issue that leads to water scarcity. Inadequate management of resources or over zealous water usage often leads to problems in the future once the water begins to run out. Much of the Middle East has turned to desert due to the overuse of water, which has taken a particular toll on nations like Iran. According to the Guardian, the United Arab Emirates has further invested in desalination and water treatment plants in order to keep up with the demand for fresh water. With an ever-growing global population, the strain on the world’s water resources only keeps looming larger each day.

What Happens When it is a Long Lasting Drought?

Long-lasting droughts also contribute to water scarcity. With little or no rain on …

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Water Scarcity

What is Water Scarcity?

Water scarcity involves water crisis, water shortage, water deficit or water stress. Water scarcity can be due to physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity. Physical water scarcity refers to a situation where natural water resources are unable to meet a region’s demand while economic water scarcity is a result of poor water management resources.

There are millions of people all over the world who don’t have access to water, or, if they do, that water is unable to be used. About 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, and 3% of it is actually freshwater that is fit for human consumption. Around two-thirds of that is tucked in frozen glaciers and unavailable for our use.

water-scarcity-children-washing-hands
Source: Canva

Clean drinking water is scarce, and there are millions of people across this globe who spend their entire day searching for it. Yet, people who have access to safe, clean drinking water take it for granted and don’t use it wisely.

According to WWF, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarcity for at least one month of the year.

That being said, what are the causes of water scarcity, what are the effects of water scarcity, and are there any solutions that we can start to explore? Here’s a quick look at all of those things in a bit more detail.

Children of a culture born in a water-rich environment, we have never really learned how important water is to us. We understand it, but we do not respect it.

~ William Ashworth

According to Wikipedia,

Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient available water resources to meet the demands of water usage within a region. It already affects every continent and around 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of every year. More than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.””

Causes of Water Scarcity

1. Overuse of Water

Water overuse is a huge issue that a lot of people are dealing with. It may be overused on people, animals, land, or any other number of things. It may also be used for recreational activities without any care about the effects that it may have on the world around them.

2. Pollution of Water

Water pollution is a huge problem, especially when you’re looking at areas that don’t necessarily have a good sewage system. Pollution can be anything from oil, to carcasses, to chemicals, and fecal matter. No matter what it is, it makes a lot of issues for the people who may need to use it.

3. Conflict

If there is conflict over an area of land, it may be difficult to access the water that is located there. It may lead to the destruction of important local infrastructure that may cause disruptions of the water supply for many people.

In the worst-case scenarios, people could end up dying if they try

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Fritz Water Vest Offers Solution to Water Access in Developing Countries

The Fritz Water Vest helps free up hands

Creative ideas can sometimes grow out of the need to solve a problem. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention. For Fritz Yambrach, professor and director of packaging at San Jose State University in California, decades of experience in the packaging industry and concern for access to water in impoverished or disaster areas led to an idea for a simple, yet life-changing solution: the Fritz Water Vest.

The vest is a pouch-like water-carrying device that fits over the head and rests on the shoulders, chest and back of the wearer, helping to reduce early health risks in children – both male and female – who carry large volumes of water over long distances. The simple design distributes weight evenly, which helps with overall posture, freeing up the hands and allowing the wearer to carry other necessary items.

“You see pictures of people in these desperate areas just schlepping water in dirty 5 gallon containers on their heads and reusing oil jugs, and it’s just this incredibly bush-leagued way to move materials around,” says Yambrach, who came up with the idea for the vest roughly 10 years ago. “I thought we in the packaging industry can improve on that.”

The vest design is what Yambrach likes to call “appropriate technology,” a term he heard from Virginia Tech’s Dr. Joe Marcy, the head of the university’s department of food science and technology.

“You don’t want to give these people cutting edge because they don’t need that,” Yambrach says. “What they need is something that’s appropriate for them that they can take and they can modify.”

Packaging Partners

For the vest to make a big impact, Yambrach needed to assemble a leadership team of packaging professionals.

In 2007, Yambrach started working on the vest design with Russell Smith from Heritage Packaging, a Victor, New York-based specialty converter of flexible and rigid packaging that is currently manufacturing the vest.

“Our ballpark cost is around $5 for a vest and that’s influx depending on material cost and things like that,” Yambrach says.

Along with Heritage Packaging, Yambrach tapped Sal Pellingra, a colleague and friend of his and vice president of innovation and technology at ProAmpac.

“It was a great project for me because when the hurricanes hit Haiti, I went down there three years in a row and saw how some of the locals there had to carry water around,” says Pellingra.

ProAmpac contributed the reusable material for the vest as well as some ideas regarding its design. The material, which Yambrach describes as “an incredibly robust, multi-layer nylon structure,” enables the vest to hold anything that flows – grains, legumes, etc. – thanks in part to the anti-microbial additive on the inside of the vest that inhibits odors and mildew.

The material also allows the vest to be reused and folded without tearing. And to further test its tear resistance and robustness, Yambrach says he’s even frozen them and thrown them around his lab.

“The idea is that they are going to be …

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIFE JACKET

LIFE JACKET

The first time I went boating it was a small group of family friends in Muskoka, Ontario and we were having the perfect getaway weekend. We enjoyed sun-drenched weather all week and the views of the water from the boat made for the ultimate Instagram shots! Deciding to take a leap into the lake from the boat to cool off, we double-checked our lifejackets were secure and hopped into the water.

Unfortunately, I did not bring my own safety equipment and was at the mercy of whatever the host had available. As a result, what I ended up with was an old, ratty-looking lifejacket that could easily have been worn by my great-grandfather. When I jumped into the water, the PFD (personal floatation device) proved to be much too big, engulfing me as soon as I hit the water. Luckily, the weather was good and the water was relatively shallow, so the only issue was the embarrassing (albeit hilarious) photograph my friends took of me being swallowed by my personal floatation device. But, in an emergency situation, this would have been dangerous, and could have proved disastrous!

BE RESPONSIBLE

Lifejackets are an essential part of boater safety, and it is your responsibility as a captain to provide well-fitting lifejackets to all passengers in your boat; even if it’s man-powered. Going for a slow row in your canoe with a friend? You’ll need two life jackets. Taking a tour around the harbor with your family? Make sure that each passenger has a PFD that fits them properly and strap yourselves in. Going fishing alone? Wear your lifejacket!

An important part of your Personal Safety Equipment is a boater’s life jacket or PFD. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about one of the most important pieces of safety equipment a boater can own while enjoying recreational boating.

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LIFE JACKETS

 Life jackets can be found in both ‘Standard’ and ‘Small Vessel’ styles and are available in both youth and adult sizes. They are red, orange, or yellow in color, feature a ‘keyhole’ or ‘vest’ design, and are typically bulkier and more uncomfortable than PFDs. Manufactured with increased flotation in the front of the jacket, life jackets are designed to turn an unconscious person face-up in the water. There are a few different types of life jackets:

SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) Life jackets: These offer the best performance and will turn an unconscious person face-up and out of the water in seconds.
Standard Life jackets: These feature a high degree of buoyancy and will turn an unconscious person face-up and out of the water but are typically uncomfortable.
Small Vessel Life jackets: These are also designed to turn an unconscious person face-up, but are not as buoyant and have less turning ability.

Life jackets should fit slightly loose in order to allow

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About Fritz Water Vest

People in developing areas stress their bodies transporting water on a daily basis. By carrying heavy buckets of water on their heads, they risk injuring their neck and back. Thanks to modern-day packaging technology, there’s a new way to transport water that’ll help ease the strain. We’re a proud supporter of the Fritz™ Water Vest and are dedicated to improving the lives of people with limited access to water. When you shop with The Packaging Company, you’re helping provide Fritz™ Water Vests to those who need them most.