Factors Affecting Access to Water Resources in South Asia

South East Asia is one of the regions in the world that have serious water problem. Such countries as India, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan have had persistent water crisis for the last several years. Water is an important resource that a society cannot do without. Clean water is used in various sectors within a country.

As Stafan (2009, p. 1) states, this is a basic commodity that one cannot do without. This scholar notes that a city cannot run without clean water. Agriculture needs clean water for it to be sustainable. The industrial sector cannot be successful if they dont have constant supply of clean water. It is therefore an undisputed fact that clean water is a product that a country must access at all costs.

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It is therefore worrying that these countries have been experiencing gradual clean water shortage within the last one century. The rate of this decrease is very alarming. Since 1950, the average supply of water per capita in this region has drastically dropped by 70 percent (Srabani 2010, p. 1).

This scholar notes that this region has been experiencing a constant decrease in the supply of clean water per capita because of the imbalance between supply of water, and population decrease. As the population in this region is constantly on the rise, most of the reliable sources of clean water are declining.

This has made this commodity very rare and precise in this region. This paper is focused on factors affecting access to clean water resources in south Asia, the Middle East and the , and how future conflict over water in these regions be avoided.

to Clean Water Resources in South Asia and Middle East
The regions in South Asia and Middle East have had a number of factors that have affected availability of clean water. Some of these factors are natural, while others are caused by activities of people in this area. Climate change is one of the leading reasons why there is a constant decline of clean water. The region has been experiencing erratic climatic conditions in the last 50 years (Nick & Sangar 2012, p. 1).

There has been prolonged drought in this region. When rain comes, it is always disruptive. It is always difficult to harvest this rain water because most of the people are always preoccupied with protecting themselves from the water itself. Cyclones have also become very common in this region, making the situation even worse.

It becomes very complex to make the situation better. The rivers in this region have become seasonal. They easily dry up, especially because their sources have become very unpredictable. During the dry seasons, it becomes very easy for the rivers to dry up. The nature of rocks and soil in this region makes it even more difficult to access clean water in this region.

The rocks in most of the country are South Asia and Middle East has deposits of oil. As such, rivers in this region get easily get polluted with this oil. When this oil deposits find their way into the river, which is often the case, then this water ends up getting polluted.

Human activities have also contributed heavily to the scarcity of clean water in this region. Middle East and South Asia are always known for production of oil. All the countries in this region, except Israel, have enough oil deposits that can be commercialized. However, the processes of extracting this oil always have serious consequences on rivers and lakes in this region.

Extraction of oil always results in the destruction of the soil. Soil is left exposed, and when rain comes, it becomes very easy for this water to be carried to the rivers. As Grunpeter (2009, p. 1) stated, extraction of oil needs proper care if the environment is to be protected.

The area within which this extraction is done should be protected in a way that it may not have any negative impact to the environment, including rivers and lakes. When this care is not taken, then the regions where oil drilling takes place will be the source of water pollution.

Population growth is another reason why water scarcity is persistent in this region. The region accounts for about 20 percent of the worlds population. This population is still on the rise. It becomes very complex to manage the rising population in cities in this region. The governments in this region find it difficult to sustain the cities with enough supply of clean water.

There is also the threat of water pollution from the increasing pollution in the cities. These cities can only be kept clean if there is enough water to that is expected. In cases where there is insufficient supply of clean water, the cities cannot be managed properly. Some of the cities have also been accused of contributing to pollution of rivers. The sewerage systems in some of the cities have not been properly put under control.

Mitigating future conflict over water in these regions
The scarcity of water in this region has resulted in massive conflict in this region. According to Mathur (2011, p. 1), the main cause of conflict comes from the fact the nature of rivers in the region. India has had friction with its neighbors, lading to political tension. For instance, Bangladesh has accused India of constructing dams in various rivers which flow to Bangladesh, reducing the volume of water that finally reaches Bangladesh, despite the existence of a treaty between the two countries.

Its plan to join some of the rivers by the Indian government has also received massive criticism from various neighboring countries. With China also getting concern of waters flowing out of its borders, the situation is becoming even more complex. These countries are struggling to supply enough clean water to their expanding populace.

The best way through which this dispute can be solved is by addressing the issues that are possibly leading to the conflicts. The countries involved should be realistic in their actions, and consider others needs in every action they take. India may be justified to build dams for the purpose of electricity generation, irrigation, domestic use and many other purposes given that its population is growing very fast (Jon & Dziuban 2010, p. 1).

However, the government should be realistic in its move. It is important to look at how this move is going to affect its neighbors like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and many others. These countries also need this water for various purposes. The spirit of should be developed among these countries. It is not possible for a country to exist in solitude.

There is need to develop the attitude of interdependence among states in this country. They should consider using other alternative sources of energy. As Srabani (2010, p. 1) notes, now that water has become very scarce in this region, it is important that countries in this region should consider coming up with other mechanisms of using alternative methods of energy instead of the hydro-electric power.

Hydro-electric power may be very efficient as a source of electricity in a country. However, the situation in this region may not allow countries the comfort of hydro-power. They have to consider using such sources of energy as nuclear energy. Nuclear energy may of technology, and it is also dangerous to the society.

However, this may be the cost that peace in this region may need to incur. These countries should harness nuclear energy. This should be supplied within these countries to be used domestically and for commercial purposes.

This will ease the pressure that is on the water in this region. This water will be used for the purpose of domestic consumption or commercial purposes. The governments should focus on developing mechanisms through which the scarce water can be used sparingly. This product should be considered as a basic need that should be able to reach all the people residing in this area.

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