Introduction

The global water crisis is getting more and more serious every day due to the global warming and other environmental changes in the world. Facts about the global water crisis are given below [1].

I. Arslan-Alaton

Department of Environmental Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, 34469 Maslak Istanbul, Turkey

European University of Lefke, Gemikonagi Mersin 10, Turkey e-mail: [email protected]

D. Orhon

Turkish Academy of Sciences, Piyade Sok. No. 27, 06550 Cankaya Ankara, Turkey

• More than one billion people lack access to a safe supply of drinking water.

• Water related diseases are one of the leading causes of disease and death in the world.

• Eighty-eight percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

• At any given time, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.

• Compounding the problem is the fact that approximately 50% of the water supply projects in the developing world fail.

Countries can be classified according to their water wealth [2]:

• Poor: Annual water volume per capita is less than 1,000 m3.

• Insufficient/Water Stress: Annual water volume per capita is less than 2,000 m3.

• Rich: Annual water volume per capita is more than 8,000-10,000 m3.

Experts at the World Water Council, based in Marseilles (France), postulate that 20% of the world's population in 30 countries faced water shortages in the year 2000. They warn that unless action is taken, the number of people living under the threat of water scarcity will rise to 2.3 billion in 2025 [3]. The ten top water-poor countries are Haiti, Niger, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eriteria, Malawi, Djibouti, Chad, Benin, and Burundi, and the ten top water-rich countries are Finland, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Guyana, Suriname, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland. Considering the annual volume of available water per capita, Turkey is a country facing water stress. The annual exploitable amount of water has recently been estimated as approximately 1,500 m3 per capita [2].

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