Only 0.5% of Earth's Water Readily Available for Human Use : USGS Report

Find out the importance of understanding only 0.5% of Earth’s water is available to us and how Carocell Solar Water technology offers a cost-effective, energy-efficient solution in addressing global water scarcity challenges.

Written by Rika Andini

Water is one of the most important resources, not just for humans, but for all living things on Earth. However, not all water is created equal, and understanding where it can be found and how much is available is crucial for sustainable living. That’s where the USGS report on Earth’s water comes in. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the report’s findings to learn more about where water can be found, and why the 0.5% figure for human water use is such a significant number.


According to the USGS report, Earth is estimated to have approximately 332.5 million cubic miles of water. While this may initially sound like a lot of water, it’s important to understand that not all of it is easily accessible for use. In fact, only 2.5% of that total water is freshwater, and much of that is not immediately available for human use. For instance, about 68.7% of this freshwater is locked away in glaciers and ice caps, while another 30.1% is found underground in aquifers.1[1]


Currently, humans use about 0.5% of Earth’s total water, and this number has remained relatively consistent over the past few decades. While it may seem like a small amount, it’s important to realize that this water is used for a wide range of purposes, such as agriculture, industry, and drinking. Additionally, there are certain areas where water is already scarce, making this 0.5% figure all the more significant.


Freshwater sources, including rivers and lakes, are scarce and make up only a tiny fraction of the total water on Earth, approximately 1/150th of one percent or about 22,300 cubic miles (93,100 cubic kilometers). Rivers, which account for only 0.49% of surface freshwater, play a vital role in providing water for human consumption, irrigation, and other essential purposes. Despite their low percentage of the total freshwater supply, they are still a primary source of drinking water and other necessary functions.


One of the biggest takeaways from the USGS report is the importance of water conservation. With only a small percentage of freshwater available, it’s important for us to make the most of what we have. This means taking steps to reduce water waste, such as fixing leaks and using efficient appliances. It also means being mindful of where our water comes from, and being aware of how our actions can impact the availability of this precious resource.

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The Different Types of Water on Earth

On Earth, there are different types of water, including freshwater, saltwater, and groundwater. While most people are familiar with these terms, they may not fully understand what they mean or the implications they have for water management and conservation efforts. Freshwater is the type of water that is suitable for human consumption and other purposes. It is the water that we use for drinking, irrigating crops, and powering hydroelectric plants.


The most significant sources of freshwater are rivers, lakes, and glaciers. Unfortunately, only about 2.5% of the water on Earth is freshwater, and most of it is not readily available for human use. For example, much of the freshwater is locked up in glaciers, while some is hidden in inaccessible areas such as underground aquifers or too far from human population centers. These factors create challenges for sustainable water management and conservation efforts.


Saltwater is the type of water that is found in the oceans and seas. It makes up about 97.5% of the total water on Earth, but it is not suitable for drinking, irrigation, or most industrial uses. Saltwater contains a high concentration of salt, and the process of removing salt from seawater in sufficient quantities to make it suitable for human consumption is energy-intensive and expensive. However, saltwater does play a vital role in the Earth’s ecosystems. Many plant and animal species depend on saltwater for survival, and ocean currents help regulate the Earth’s climate.


Groundwater is the largest source of freshwater on Earth and is stored underground in aquifers. It is the largest source of freshwater on Earth and plays a critical role in supplying water for agriculture, industry, and domestic use. Groundwater can be found almost everywhere, but its availability and quality vary widely depending on the geology of the area. Groundwater recharge refers to the process by which water from precipitation and surface water percolates through the soil and replenishes underground aquifers. This process is critical for ensuring sustainable groundwater supplies.


The Importance of Freshwater Sources for Human Use

Water is an essential resource for all life on Earth, yet only a small fraction of the planet’s water is available for human use. Rivers are one of the main sources of freshwater, but they are also vulnerable to pollution and overuse. This can result in a reduction in flow and a loss of the river’s ecological functions. To protect rivers, it is essential to manage water use carefully and reduce pollution from industrial waste, agricultural runoff, and sewage.


Lakes are another significant source of freshwater, and they can provide a more stable supply of water than rivers. However, lakes are also vulnerable to pollution, eutrophication, and overuse. Eutrophication is a process that occurs when nutrients build up in the lake and fuel the growth of algae, which can lead to the death of fish and other aquatic life. To protect lakes, it is crucial to reduce pollution, manage water use carefully, and control nutrient inputs.


Shallow groundwater is a vital source of freshwater, particularly for rural communities. It is located close to the surface and can be accessed through wells or springs. However, shallow groundwater is also vulnerable to pollution from agriculture, industry, and human waste. Contaminants can seep into the groundwater and make it unsafe for human use. To protect shallow groundwater, it is essential to manage land use to reduce pollution and protect recharge zones.


Beyond pollution and overuse, freshwater sources face additional challenges such as climate change, which can lead to more frequent and severe droughts. Growing populations and increasing water demand are also putting pressure on freshwater sources. Water resource conflicts are also becoming more common, especially in regions with limited water supplies. To ensure a sustainable future for water resources, we need to implement effective water management practices and conservation efforts that take into account these challenges.

The Dire Consequences of Limited Water Availability

The global population continues to grow rapidly, and as a result, the demand for water is increasing, creating a significant gap between available supply and growing demand. The consequences of limited water availability are severe and far-reaching, ranging from natural disasters to social instability. Drought is one of the most noticeable and damaging consequences of limited water availability, causing crop failures, food shortages, and famine. A recent report from the Federal Ministry of Health & Human Services, WHO, and UNICEF shows that a deepening drought in Somalia in 2022 may have caused approximately 43,000 excess deaths, half of which may have been among children under the age of 5.2[1]


Famine is a direct consequence of drought and can lead to malnutrition, disease, and death. According to reports from the World Food Programme, as many as 828 million people around the world do not have enough food, with almost 43.3 million individuals at serious risk of famine. Additionally, limited water availability affects sanitation and hygiene systems, leading to diarrheal diseases, cholera outbreaks, and other health problems.3[2]


The limited supply of water can also lead to social instability, with conflicts over water resources becoming more common in areas where water is scarce. These conflicts can result in displacement and even violence. Water is a precious commodity essential for human survival, agriculture, and industrial activities. As water resources become scarcer, tensions between countries are becoming more intense. Currently, the Nile Basin countries are locked in a conflict over the Nile River’s rights, with Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia having competing claims over the river’s water. The dangers of limited water availability are all too real, and we must take steps to address this issue before it is too late.


The Sahel region in Africa is regularly affected by droughts, which cause severe food insecurity and malnutrition. Agriculture is the primary source of income for many communities in the area, and the lack of water resources has a devastating effect on crop yields and livestock. Millions of people suffer from food insecurity, and dependence on food aid perpetuates the cycle of poverty and loss of independence. Finding sustainable solutions to climate change and water resource management is critical to alleviating the Sahel region’s plight.4

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is experiencing severe water scarcity, which is affecting the lives of millions of people, according to a UNICEF report. Despite being home to 5% of the world’s population, the region has only 1% of the world’s freshwater resources. Water scarcity impacts the availability of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, leading to an increase in waterborne diseases. It also affects agriculture and food security, which are critical sources of income for many communities in the region. Climate change and population growth are exacerbating the water scarcity crisis, and immediate action is necessary to address the issue.5[1]


Water scarcity disproportionately affects rural populations in developing countries. Many people in rural areas lack access to clean water sources, and the water they do get is often contaminated, leading to waterborne illnesses. Women and children are especially vulnerable since they are responsible for fetching water, which can take several hours, limiting their opportunities for education or paid work. Addressing water scarcity in rural areas requires sustainable solutions that prioritize access to clean water and sanitation facilities.


In developing countries, urban populations are also impacted by water scarcity due to rapid urbanization and inadequate infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for water. Residents in many urban centers rely on private water vendors, leading to poor quality water, high prices, and unequal access. Municipal governments need to prioritize upgrading water infrastructure, ensuring equitable distribution of water resources, and promoting sustainable water management practices in cities.

Effective Approaches to Water Conservation for a Sustainable Future

With the world’s population expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, the demand for freshwater resources will only continue to rise. It is crucial that we take action to conserve water and promote sustainable use.6[1]


One of the most effective ways to conserve water is through the implementation of conservation measures. These measures can include repairing leaks, using water-efficient appliances, and adopting water-wise landscaping practices. Educating people about the importance of water conservation and how to achieve it is also crucial. Fixing leaks, in particular, can save homeowners up to 10 percent on their water bills. Homeowners can also switch to native drought-tolerant flora for their gardens, which require less water and are better suited to the local climate.7[2]


Investing in water infrastructure is another key strategy for promoting sustainable water use. This can include upgrading aging water infrastructure, building new storage facilities, and improving water treatment technologies. Smart water management technologies,

such as sensors and real-time monitoring systems, can help optimize water use and reduce waste. These tools can quickly locate leaks and detect excess water usage.


Another effective strategy to address water scarcity is to promote the use of alternative water sources like rainwater harvesting and recycled wastewater. These sources can be utilized for non-potable purposes such as irrigation and industrial processes, freeing up freshwater resources for essential uses like drinking. Greywater recycling, where household wastewater from dishwashing, sinks, and laundry is treated and repurposed for irrigation, is a notable example. Rainwater harvesting involves the collection of rainwater through roof gutters and channeling it into storage containers for future use, providing an alternative water source for non-potable purposes. Moreover, Carocell Solar Water technology allows high-quality potable water production from any source, including seawater, groundwater, and even contaminated or polluted water, making it an excellent option for sustainable water use.


Carocell Solar Water technology is an innovative approach that efficiently produces clean drinking water by using solar energy. This technology is the most cost-effective product of its kind and has revolutionized the water desalination/purification industry. This technology can be a game-changer for regions facing severe water scarcity, especially in arid areas where seawater is abundant. Moreover, the technology is designed to be energy-efficient, which reduces operating costs and provides a sustainable solution to water scarcity.


Policies and regulations can also be implemented to promote sustainable water use and discourage wasteful practices. For example, tiered pricing systems can encourage conservation by charging higher rates for higher levels of water consumption. Building codes can also require the use of water-efficient fixtures and appliances in new homes, encouraging conservation. Community education programs, such as organizing events, seminars, and using social media platforms, can also raise awareness and promote safe water use.



To conclude, the USGS report illustrates the importance of understanding that only 0.5% of Earth’s water is readily available for human use. As climate change and population growth place even more strain on this limited resource, sustainable water use becomes increasingly critical. Carocell Solar Water technology offers a cost-effective, energy-efficient solution that is designed to produce high quality potable water from any source. This innovative approach has already revolutionized the water desalination/purification industry and can be a pivotal asset in addressing global water scarcity challenges. Ultimately, this could be an invaluable tool in protecting our planet’s valuable freshwater resources as we move into a more uncertain future.

Consumer actions to reduce plastic bottle waste

Recycling plastic bottles is a crucial step in reducing plastic waste and protecting the environment. Proper disposal of plastic bottles is equally important. By placing plastic bottles in designated recycling bins, consumers can ensure that the recycling process is efficient and effective. The recycled plastic can then be used to make a wide range of products, from clothing and furniture to building materials and automotive parts, reducing the need for virgin plastic production.


However, improper disposal of plastic bottles can have severe consequences. Discarded plastic bottles take hundreds of years to decompose, polluting the environment and endangering wildlife. Improper disposal, such as throwing plastic bottles in the trash or littering, can clog drainage systems and waterways, causing flooding and other environmental problems. Thus, it is essential to properly dispose of plastic bottles in designated recycling bins or other waste management systems.


Another effective way to reduce plastic bottle waste is to switch to reusable drinking water containers. Consumers can invest in high-quality glass or stainless steel water bottles that can last for many years, rather than buying single-use plastic bottles. This simple step can help consumers reduce their carbon footprint, cut down on plastic waste, and save money in the long run.


At the Bebandem Karangasem Health Center, the production and disposal of plastic bottles has been running rampant for years. With an alarming 28,000 bottles being used annually and contributing to the global pollution crisis, it’s safe to say that something needs to change.5[1] Air Minum Bersih and Carocell solar water are stepping up and taking action to reduce plastic waste. Through the implementation of clean drinking water purification, the Bebandem Health Center will no longer need to rely on plastic bottles as their primary source of hydration. It’s a step in the right direction for a healthier, greener future.


Consumers can also play an active role in reducing plastic bottle waste by choosing eco-friendly products. This involves opting for brands that use fewer plastics, promoting sustainable practices, or offering packaging alternatives. For instance, consumers can look for detergents that come in refillable containers or choose beauty products that use recycled plastic. These actions can go a long way in shifting the demand towards more sustainable and eco-friendly products, ultimately reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment.


In short, with the production of billions of plastic bottles a day and only 9% of that making it to recycling, it’s clear that more needs to be done in order to decrease plastic waste. Companies such as Air Minum Bersih and Carocell solar water have already taken meaningful steps towards reducing plastic use and creating sustainable systems for managing clean drinking water. We can all help reduce plastic waste in our own small ways by avoiding single-use plastics, reusing containers where possible, carrying reusable water bottles with us, and supporting companies with environmentally friendly practices.


However, these actions are barely enough to address the global scale of the issue. That’s why we need everyone to join together and contribute to organizations like Air Minum Bersih — it is only through collaboration on a massive scale that real progress can happen. Let’s make a joint donation today and take another step towards saving our planet!


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Berita Negara No 080 Tahun 2022

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no 09, 30 September 2022

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