The meaning of water management
Water management means dealing with water in the best possible way. This can be done by local authorities (municipal water management) or it can be done by individuals at home (when we manage how we use our own water supplies).
Good water management will involve organizing water so that everyone has enough, and controlling water supplies and water treatment centers (and other equipment and logistics relating to water) so that they work in the best possible way. It thus often involves some knowledge of the chemical properties of water.
The importance of water management
Water management affects many aspects of our lives. Water is so common that we often do not think about where it comes from or where it is managed. But, bad water management can really hit us hard. Below are some key ways in which water management is important.
1. Drinking water: humans need to drink around 8 glasses of water a day in order to get sufficient hydration. So clean drinking water is a necessity for us. Without water, we can only survive for a few days at most. But, if we have water and no food, we can survive for several weeks. This shows just how crucial it is that we have daily access to clean water that is suitable for drinking. If we have pets, they will need daily access to water too.
2. Washing and cleaning: we also use water to keep ourselves, our clothes and our homes clean and hygienic. A clean water supply is important for this too. From washing our hands before a meal to deep cleaning a hospital floor, we need clean water for almost all aspects of good hygiene.
3. Agriculture: water is used throughout the world to grow crops such as grains and fruits. A good water supply is needed to prevent hunger and famine.
4. Leisure and fun: swimming, boating and many other leisure activities involve water. Swimming pools and other facilities need to be well maintained so that they remain safe and enjoyable places to be. Swimming pool water needs to be managed by treating it with chlorine and regularly testing its levels of bacteria and other substances, for instance, to ensure that it is safe for people to swim in.
5. Biodiversity: managing water well ensures that we do not deplete or contaminate rivers, lakes and other important water sources which are habitats for a wide range of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians as well as water dwelling plants.
Methods of water management
There are several water management methods available in the world, and these are being honed all the time as scientists and engineers find new ways to look after our water supplies. Below are 5 key water management strategies that are widely used today.
1. Waste water systems – recycling and treating: sewage systems help to dispose of waste water in a clean and safe way. They also very often involve recycling water and treating it so that it is safe to be piped back into people’s homes and used for drinking, washing and so on. These systems are absolutely essential for ensuring that our waste water does not cause us to fall ill.
2. Irrigation systems: good quality irrigation systems can be deployed to nourish crops in drought hit areas. These systems can be managed so that water is not wasted – and they can use recycled water or rain water to avoid unnecessarily depleting water supplies.
3. Conserving water: both big companies and private individuals can conserve many gallons of water every day, simply by not running taps or using water-guzzling appliances unnecessarily. Water can also be conserved by generally consuming less. Not many people realize how much water goes in to the production of a car or an item of clothing, for example. Cutting down on the amount of things that we buy can really reduce the amount of water that is needed to support our lifestyle.
4. Caring for the natural water supplies: natural water sources such as lakes, rivers and seas are so important. Both fresh water ecosystems and marine ecosystems are home to a wide variety of different organisms and without the support of these ecosystems, these organisms would most likely become extinct. Good water management thus also involves ensuring that we do not pollute natural water sources.
5. Effective implementation of plans – ensuring that everyone has enough water: there is no denying that easy access to fresh, clean, safe water is a right that all humans should enjoy. However, in many parts of the world, people have to walk many miles in order to access clean water. So, good water management systems are only truly praiseworthy if they are implemented throughout the world so that everyone can benefit from them. Good water management means not just a convenient and safe water supply for some people – but water for everyone to use.
Good water management should be an absolute priority for every generation, and for every government throughout the world. More should be done to ensure that absolutely everyone in the world has daily access to safe, clean water that they can use for drinking, washing and growing crops.