Water Management and Conservation

Water Management and Conservation

Water Management and Conservation

Water management can be defined as the efficient management to reduce loss, wastage or use of water (Alexander, 2008). On the other hand, water conservation encompasses the policies, strategies and activities to manage water as a sustainable resource (Burdick, 2014). It has become necessary nowadays since there is a need to conserve the available water. Failure to manage and conserve water would result in a water shortage and the outcome is environmental degradation. This brings with it food insecurity and shortages in energy. There have been various causes of environmental degradation that results to water mismanagement. Some of them include increased population and the accelerated increase in the consumption patterns on a daily basis. Water is a necessary and a valuable resource that needs to be effectively used to meet the demands of the large population that occupy our planet. There is, therefore, need to manage and conserve the available water sources. This paper discusses the general guidelines and practical recommendations on water management and conservation.

Climate change, population increase, demand and the general decline in the water supplies present a critical problem that needs to be critically addressed. As (Alexander,2008) comments, when the water demand is more than the amount of water available for a specified period of time, deterioration of the available water resources is inevitable. This affects the quality as well as the quantity of the fresh water available. If such a trend continues globally, then that is a tragedy in waiting since we would have an increasingly complex landscape where water mismanagement compromises water mismanagement.

Climate change is a great controversy that poses a great challenge globally. It greatly affects the global potable water supplies. It leads to an overall increase in temperature that affects the hydrological cycle. This occurs because water systems are intrinsically linked to the levels of rainfall and runoff (Burdick, 2014). This, therefore, proves to be a long-term problem rather than short-term.

The overall environmental degradation of river basins has permeated the entire human life to varying degrees.it has been the source of slums, especially in developing countries. This has consequently led to pollution of water bodies generally in liquid or solid states from these slums. The impacts have been lowering the quality of water and limiting its use. There is an interaction between the surface and the subsurface water and, therefore, polluting surface water leads to polluting of the subsurface water.

Industrial and mining activities also result in a high degree of water pollution. Government mismanagement, coupled with a poor legal framework, allow industrial and mining activities to develop with few environmental controls. As a result, mining activities continue to proliferate in areas of high

biological diversity, where water resources are contaminated with highly toxic substances such as mercury and lead (Reuters, 2008). As population pushes the industrial and agricultural use of water, this leads us to believe that the government needs to revise the policies that govern the practices to minimize pollution.

Water-related problems have been associated with food shortage, environmental degradation, desertification and an overall failure of the economy. This has led to maladies associated with diet and nutrition as well as water-related diseases. The diseases include those due to the micro-organisms and chemicals in the water taken people, malaria which is caused but water related vectors, schistosomiasis, and ameba. The world Health Organization reported that close to 842000 cases of diarrheal disease deaths in 2015 were as a result of inadequate drinking of water, poor hygiene and poor sanitation (Burdick, 2014)

Poor management of available water resources and failure to conserve ground water and harvest rainwater has led to poor irrigation methods and reduced agricultural produce.  Research shows that few countries and companies are making enough effort to conserve and manage water through harnessing rainwater and protecting the natural water catchment areas.

Reports by WHO indicate that only 83% of the world’s population have access to clean drinking water, the other 17% of the population, which is around one billion people are left without access to safe drinking water. this presents a challenge for the world community to offer a solution to this. Each year about 1.5 million children under 5 years die, and 443 million

school days are lost, as a result of diseases related to water and sanitation (United Nation Report, 2010). It poses a challenge to the government to cater for the ever-increasing population and sustain the water resources as well. The demand for water increases day in day out as technology advances.

Improper use of water and failure to practice water management and conservation measures has caused problems like lowering of the water table. The once-high water table is lowering gradually as time goes by. According to (Burdick, 2014), groundwater tables are falling due to the contamination of drinking water and Salinization of irrigation water thus negatively affecting ground water.  Pressure on ground water is emanating from urbanized landscapes and increased development. action needs to be taken to counter this or else our future will be doomed. Ground water management requires a clear understanding on recharge, fate of the contaminant, transport mechanisms, and interaction of groundwater and streams.  To enhance this practice, the public and decision makers require talking to the community about effective methods of conserving ground water (Blanco et al, 2008) Groundwater could be managed by improving protocols of the life cycle such as emissions from ground water, new irrigation techniques and improving the quality of surface water.  University extension contributes to improvement practices of ground water by offering extension facilities to private wells owners to locate, test, and fix them (Alexander, 2008).

Conservation and management of water could be achieved through the following measure: organizing educational forums, conducting public awareness on the need to conserve water, the building of dams and reservoirs to reduce wastage of water, practicing effective irrigation practices. The education forums could be organized by research institutes who have gathered enough knowledge on the effective measure to employ to conserve water. The forums should target all communities since there is a need to educate everyone on the essential practice. The major target should be students since almost every household has a representation. Building dams and reservoirs should be undertaken by the government as well as well as individuals who practice large-scale farming. The mismanagement of water leads to depletion of subsurface water which indirectly affects the society. It is of low quality and risks social disruption, which extends to political disruption.  This leads to increased loss of jobs among agricultural workers as well as the growth of few crops.  This proves that countries GDP correlates to available water for agriculture.  This eventually correlates to high employment levels in high agricultural areas.  Producers face economic stress.  Temporal landscapes are created due to inadequate water supply.

There has been a drastic reduction of water due to pollution of the environment with toxic gasses that are emitted into the atmosphere. We can blame this to the industrial revolution but more on irresponsible disposal of waste products. Over a few years ago, there has been an increase in the number of industries coming up. It has been a milestone to the economies of different countries but the same leaves awful effects behind. The toxic gasses emitted into the air comes back as acid rain that destroys the vegetation and roofs. Some drain their effluent into rivers killing the aquatic lives.

Everyone has a right to access clean water for domestic consumption. Many countries encourage technology that fosters affordable access to clean water and proper use of the same.   This idea has been bought by the human right commissions all over the world. They challenge any activity that does not work for the sustainment of water resources.

Water is used in different ways. It is used domestically in households as well as in businesses to generate income. It is used in irrigation in large scale farming to grow crops. Current reports indicate that the use of water for irrigation has increasingly become common. This is because the ever-increasing population needs a more sustainable supply of food. There has been a need to increase food production but at the same time conserve the environment. Though there has been an increased rate of farming and the use of water people are urged to protect the water catchment areas. Many have therefore resolved to mixed farming which only requires a small piece of land. Some construct greenhouses to have a better control of their crops. The increased rate of urbanization is, however, proving to be a challenge. Some countries like have opted to use other methods of farming to increase their food production.

Another use of water is transport. Water has over the years been used as a very reliable means of transport. Vessels are used to ferry people as well as goods. It has been used t transport imports and exports as well. Pipelines are at times laid in the water bodies to enhance better transportation of fuel. This necessitates the need to conserve the water bodies and protect them from exploitation.

Water offers a good habitat for aquatic plants and animals. Some act as food for human while some offer tourist attraction sites. Destroying such water bodies would mean the loss of revenue to the government and the people around the resource. There has been a need to come up with measures that will aid in water management. some of them are discussed below

Water required to grow food continues to grow in its importance globally over time.  Scarce water to use in irrigation limits food production and threatens the economy since the population continues to increase in number.  As a result, the needs of the population remain unattended and supply of new sources of energy diminishes (Blanco et al, 2008).  Freshwater ecosystems are threatened by changes in climate and end up requiring more water to continue with environmental flows.  Water management practices in food production require farmers to have skills on how to grow more foods using less water (Reuters, 2008).  This will eventually reduce environmental effects to downstream watersheds and ecosystems.  Farmers require adapting to changes in water capacity that may arise from changes in climate.

Water management and conservation measures.

There are guidelines laid in place to guide on the conservation of water. There are measures that are considered basic others intermediate and the rest advanced. It depends on the use of water being applied. The methods laid in place should consider the following parameters. They should be pocket-friendly, consider universal metering and account for water loss control. They should also incorporate pressure management and landscape efficiency since not all can be applied in any kind of landscape. The advanced measures should focus on reuse and recycling of water as well as integrated resource management. the measure put in place are expected to provide the fullest range of conservation as possible. There have been small appliances that have been very successful in implementing a wide range of beneficial water conservation benefits.

(Ashley, 2009) suggests that measures to conserve water can be done and implemented through different ways including research. Many universities have come up with commendable measures that can help in conserving water. The measures range from simple ones to the complex ones. There are those applied for the domestic purposes such as checking faucets and pipes for leaks. A lot of water is lost through leaks and that is why people are encouraged to check such leaks and report them to the relevant authorities. According to (Pegram, 2013) a small drip from a worn out faucet washer can waste up to 25 gallons of water daily. This is just a small figure compared to what larger leaks can waste. There are some automated systems that auto detect any leakages that occur along pipelines.

Another measure is installing water-saving shower heads in bathrooms. the faucets should also be low-flow to reduce the amount of water that passes through them. Such essential appliances are available and are easy to install. According to (Ashley, 2009), such appliances should be able to regulate the flow of water to 2.5 gallons per minute. The toilets should also be carefully used to avoid misusing water. They should not be used as ashtrays or dustbins. A lot of water is used to flush such heavy substances out of the basins.

There are some other seemingly minor habits that actually cause a lot of wastage. Such habits as leaving the water running after watering a toothbrush lead to a loss of about 2 gallons of water per day (Ashley, 2009)

All public-use water systems are supposed to be well metered since this is where a lot of waste occurs. The systems should as well be read at regular intervals to determine the amount of water used and if there are any irregular trends. They are mostly fitted with a pressure reducing valves to lower the speed of the aggressive waters that may cause leakages.

At times, water management has to start from the supply side. This helps to lay a good monitoring strategy to make sure that the water reaches the consumer without interruptions. these helps to identify any unauthorized use of water and counter it.

Other water management and conservation methods involve the use of loss prevention programs. This is done by inspecting pipes, lining and other systems to prevent any leaks. Old pipes are replaced with new ones to help avoid any possible leaks in future.

The authorities have come up with an advanced pricing method that regulates the usage of water. The methods general allocates costs by customer class or the type of water they are supplied with (Gregg et al, 2008). The methods nay consider whether the usage is indoor or outdoor. this puts in consideration, the potential revenue to be earned from the prospected project.

There are however methods that cannot be used on a small scale but are very much applicable to large-scale measures. Such measures include landscape efficiency. This can only be applied in places like public parks, golf courses, building grounds and the like. According to (Blanco et al, 2008) such landscaping measure that regulates wastage of water should include planning and design, mulching, efficient irrigation, soil improvement, use of lower water- demanding plants and having an appropriate water management system in place.

Industries should also apply an efficient method of managing water.  there should be measure in place to ensure recycling and reusing of water.  The authorities should identify nonresidential customers who can use recycled water as well. Recycled water could be used in other industrial activities, ground recharge, irrigation and at times direct reuse.  Reuse of water is encouraged in large volume irrigation, refilling swimming pools, lawn watering, car washing and washing sidewalks.

The government should make sure that the wetlands that supply natural water are protected. These places should be government reserves. This is because if an individual is allowed to own them, they would be tempted to subdivide the areas for commercial purposes which will affect the overall production.


Challenges in water management practices

There are various challenges associated with the management and conservation of water. They are associated with the use of artificial fertilizers, dumping, and deforestation. Farmers have continuously used fertilizers and chemicals to add nutrients in soil with an aim of getting higher produce.  The use of fertilizers and chemicals like pesticides have led to the addition of harmful chemicals that has led to an increase in nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations in agricultural lands. The chemicals end up being absorbed into the soil or worse still being drained into water bodies.  Excess accumulation of these nutrients increases biomass of algae in freshwater and estuaries.  This leads to anthropogenic eutrophication demonstrated by loss of fisheries (Alexander, 2008). The use of the fertilizers is not bad but it is not highly recommended. It may lead to an increased production but the environmental effects are way too serious.

There has been an unavoidable challenge that has encompassed the ecosystem. Wetlands, vegetated buffers and riparian attract wildlife increasing fecal contamination in crops that are near those areas.  Management of water to ensure food safety starts with prevention of fecal contamination from wild and domestic animals, control of pathogens in irrigation water, maintenance of sediment control structures among others.  Buried bioreactors minimize vectors in animals and microbial hazards while maintaining the quality of water.  Ability to examine occurrence cycle of waterborne contaminants assists in the control of waterborne diseases.  Extension officers educate stakeholders on the importance of water quality and methods of managing water resources (Alexander, 2008).

Research has shown that water required to grow food continues to grow in its importance globally over time.  Scarce water to use in irrigation limits food production and threatens the economy since the population continues to increase in number.  As a result, the needs of the population remain unattended and supply of new sources of energy diminishes (Pegram, 2013).  Freshwater ecosystems are threatened by changes in climate and end up requiring more water to continue with environmental flows.  Water management practices in food production require farmers to have skills on how to grow more foods using less water (Blanco et al, 2008).  This will eventually reduce environmental effects to downstream watersheds and ecosystems.  Farmers require adapting to changes in water capacity that may arise from changes in climate.


The approach is based on the sustainable development of water management and conservation in an attempt to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (value of water-econ)

The water authorities should ban or restrict once-through cooling where water is not reused. the car washes, laundries and decoration fountains that do not reuse water should be checked. There should also be bans on commercial carwashes and nurseries. The restrictions should, however, be justified by the systems circumstances and should not unduly compromise the customer’s rights or quality of service (Ashley, 2009)

There should be public education to educate people on the ways of managing and preserving water. Schools should as well be in the forefront to instill the knowledge in their students

Initiatives to control degradation of water from nutrient poisoning, have led to the formation of education forums aimed at educating farmers on hydrology.  These initiatives train farmers on nutrient cycling, appropriate human behavior, land policy, economics, and different cropping systems.  Application of these water management efforts is believed to upgrade the quality of surface and underground water, producing clean and safe water for consumption (Ashley, 2009) Reservoirs have been increased as farmers avoid usage of fertilizers that have high harmful effects on human health, environment, surface, and underground water.

There have been accurate watershed models have been developed to take care of changes in climate that cause a shortage of water for irrigation.  Water reservoirs have been added to conserve water for consumption and farming.  Water management is practiced through reintegration of animal and plant production through managing manure (Gregg et al, 2008).  Initiatives to construct riparian zones to control drainage, carbon bioreactors that trap nutrients and prevent them from being drained down the rivers are among water management practices.  Understanding cropping systems and changes in climate, increase production of agricultural products and reduce loss of nutrients (Francis, 2011)

Stakeholders are developing grant programs to find solutions to the availability of clean and safe drinking water.  Forums are organized for farmers to educate them on methods of preserving underground water.  There are developmental and implementation frameworks to monitor programs for NO3 and salt discharges that affect underground water.  Research projects are developed to enhance the best management practices to protect underground water.  Livestock and poultry environmental learning center improve the quality of water by connecting regulators, researchers and extension workers in advisory programs.

The policy-makers should take into account that water supplies are finite and, therefore, should be well managed. They should consider the phenomenon such as climate change and population growth as the triggers to water stress situation, therefore, come up with regulations on the same. They should set up laws and policies that favor conservation of the available water resources and good management of the water available. The governments should well understand that access to clean water as a universal human right that is vital for human development. Ways of cultivating this should, therefore, be fostered through education, policy making and implementation. Practices that punish the indiscriminate use of water and favor the proper use of water should be encouraged such as the mixed pricing system.  Policy makers should introduce systems and technologies that enable the universal and efficient measurements of consumption to help generate a greater supply with less wastage of water (Gregg et al, 2008)

In conclusion, water management should be encouraged in every way possible. There have been measures put in place to curb mismanagement of water. the few resources we have should be utilized well for a brighter future. The global community cannot boast of having achieved much in the area of conserving water since there is a lot to be done. This is with the full understanding of the challenges that are there such as the ever-increasing population, urbanization and the like. There should be no excuse not to work on it.



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