Origin and Distribution of Earth’s Fresh Water
Earth’s water is a finite resource and it is essential for life on the planet. The majority of Earth’s water is found in the ocean as salt water, however, freshwater is also available in rivers, lakes, ice caps, and underground aquifers. According to the United Nations (UN), approximately 2.5% of Earth’s water is freshwater, and of that just 0.3% is available for human use (UN, 2018). The majority of this freshwater is stored in the polar ice caps, glaciers, and underground. A small fraction of the freshwater is held in lakes, rivers, and wetlands, and it is this that people rely on for drinking and sanitation (UN, 2018). The distribution of freshwater varies greatly across the globe and is not evenly distributed. For example, according to the Water Project, in sub-Saharan Africa only 13% of the population has access to clean drinking water (The Water Project, 2019). In comparison, those living in North America and Europe are more likely to have access to clean and safe drinking water. Additionally, water scarcity can be a major issue in certain regions, where the demand for freshwater exceeds the available supply. Cont…
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