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The Global Crisis of Water Depletion and Contamination, Part 2 of a Multi-part Series

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The Amazon region has been hit by a record drought, causing waterways to dry up and impacting the lives of millions of people. But a study released this week found that human activities such as deforestation, cattle ranching and corporate farming have played a pivotal role in reducing the Earth’s capacity to retain water. Scientists cite the unprecedented death of river dolphins to make their case. In some areas, residents have not seen rain for three years, and water reserves have now fallen below 16%, making this drought the worst in Spain’s modern history. Drought restrictions have impacted more than six million Spaniards. Italian authorities declared a drought emergency and a “state of natural disaster.” Olive production is also being severely impacted by the drought, leading to a spike in olive oil prices. There’s a growing fear that Mexico City will soon reach “Day Zero” when there’s no water left. This day could arrive in a matter of months. As a city’s primary water source, the aquifer has been depleted. The city’s Cutzamala water system, which includes reservoirs and canals, is at a historic low of 39% capacity, prompting water restrictions.

Tankers like this are the only source of water for thousands of people in Bengaluru, widely called India’s Silicon Valley. The deputy chief minister of Karnataka says nearly half of the 14,800 borewells have dried up. Zambia has declared a national disaster and emergency over the country’s debilitating drought. The drought has destroyed about 1 million hectares of the 2.2 million hectares planted with the staple maize crop. According to the U.N. agency, the World Food Programme, many countries in southern Africa are also in dire situations. Global water resources are being depleted and becoming polluted at an alarming rate. Currently, according to the World Bank, approximately two billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, a figure that could more than double within the next 26 years, primarily due to nitrogen pollution. Staying away from the raising of animal-people livestock is the only solution for conserving our planet’s water resources.
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