Precipitation—a major control of freshwater availability—is unevenly distributed around the globe. More precipitation falls near the equator, and a tropical rainforest climate characterizes landmasses. Less precipitation tends to fall near 2030 north and south latitudes of the world’s largest deserts. The water crisis refers to a global situation where people in many areas lack access to sufficient or clean water or both. The current and future water crisis requires multiple approaches to extending our fresh water supply and moving towards sustainability. Some of the longstanding traditional approaches include dams and aqueducts. Water pollution is water contamination by an excess amount of a substance that can cause harm to human beings and the ecosystem. The level of water pollution depends on the abundance of the pollutant, the ecological impact of the pollutant, and the use of the water. The most deadly form of water pollution, pathogenic microorganisms that cause waterborne diseases, kills almost 2 million people annually in underdeveloped countries. Solving the global water pollution crisis requires multiple approaches to improve freshwater quality. The best strategy for addressing this problem is proper sewage treatment. Untreated sewage is a major cause of pathogenic diseases and a major source of other pollutants, including oxygen-demanding waste, plant nutrients, and toxic heavy metals.


Theis, T. & Tomkin, J. (Eds.). (2015). Sustainability: A comprehensive foundation. Retrieved from Available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (CC BY 4.0). Modified from original.

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Essentials of Environmental Science by Kamala Doršner is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Modified from the original by Matthew R. Fisher.


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Introduction to Environmental Sciences and Sustainability Copyright © 2023 by Emily P. Harris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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