Earth issues are interrelated and water shortages have strong connections to other problems.
How Global Problems are Interrelated.
The amount of water in the world is finite. The number of us is growing quickly and our water use is growing more quickly. A third of the world's population lives in water-stressed countries. By 2025, this is expected to rise to two-thirds. The world's supply of fresh water is running out. Already one person in five has no access to safe drinking water. Australians are talking about 3 desalination or de-purification plants yet millions of litres are captured by our streets and drained away every day. Water is the most common substance on the planet and covers about 70% of it.
Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR and 1990 Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize said "Water, like religion & ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People write, sing & dance about it. People fight over it and all people, everywhere & everyday need it." Many wars have been fought over water and when polluted it can cause disease. 1 in 5 people do not have access to clean water. Water covers 70% of the planet, yet only 1% is drinkable. 1/3 of the world's population are stressed by the lack of it and by 2025 due to global warming this may be 2/3. It seems obvious to me that we must as a matter of urgency de-couple fresh water that falls from heaven and pollution to address these issues. Yet we design roads to mix previous rainwater with pollution and it becomes storm water. Gorbachev went on to say "Fortunately we have a history of meeting great challenges using imagination and out irrepressible capacity to adapt, and thousands of talented people around the world are already mobilised to the cause of preserving water for future generations. Just as we are moved by water, we must now move in order to save it."
We have a water crisis in Australia. Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world - only Antarctica gets less rain. Most of Australia has experienced drought under El Nino conditions for the past few years and some major cities are seriously short of water. Yet giga litres of storm water go into our coastal water ways every year carrying with it significant levels of pollution. The water crisis in Australia is not going to be solved doing what he have done the way we have done it in the past.
At TecEco we believe all technical problems including those of salinity and pollution can be solved. The Gaia Engineering tececology has a holistic approach and will address the water shortage crisis producing fresh water as a by product. As the Greensols sub-process can use saltwater or brine it is available to every country.. Tececo permecocrete will capture and cleanse the gigalitres that flow off our streets. Instead of getting water into a pipe and getting rid of it as soon as possible we need to rethink the paradigm. In this context pervious pavements are a strong candidate for roads and footpath of the future.
We have less faith however in our ability to solve human problems, particularly the need for us to get on with each other on "spaceship earth". We are encouraged to continue by the thought that solving other problems will help. Maybe there are just too many of us.
 Introductory article written for Civilization, the Magazine of the US Library of Congress, October-November 2000, by Guest Editor Mikhail Gorbachev.