Global Water Shortage & Scholarly Sources and Research

Global Water Shortage as a Societal Problem

The global water shortage has been noted to be a major societal problem. It causes social challenges to public health and general development such as health-related issues including lack of access to safe drinking water, poor sanitation, and hygiene (Kummu et al, 2016). Water shortage is also closely tied to rapid population growth causing stress to water resources. Urbanization is among the lens used to view the issue of global water shortage. The increase in urban population has resulted in increased demand for the supply of cleaner and safer water.  

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Global water shortage has been indicated to negatively affect public healthcare as well as general development. Reports by the UNICEF and the World Health Organization revealed that in 2011 approximately 1.1 billion people did not have access to clean water supply (Tarrass & Benjelloun, 2011). The issue of water shortage causes sanitation issues. This has been indicated to affect the global health leading to over 1.6 million deaths every year. These deaths are linked to lack of access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation, and poor hygiene. This makes the issue of global water shortage an important social issue that requires global attention to deal with. 

Global water shortage affects the urban population to a great extent. Urbanization results in increased development, energy demand, natural resources utilization and the well being of people. The ever-growing urban population is characterized by a large number of people within a small unit area, and a corresponding demand for water (McDonald et al., 2014). This concentration of people implies that the neighboring water resources are over-stretched in an attempt to meet the surging demand for water supply. Clearly, global water shortage is a societal problem that needs to be addressed and with desalination of the sea and ocean water being among the major solution.


Kummu, M., Guillaume, J. H. A., De Moel, H., Eisner, S., Flörke, M., Porkka, M., … & Ward, P. J. (2016). The world’s road to water scarcity: shortage and stress in the 20th century and pathways towards sustainability. Scientific reports6, 38495.

McDonald, R. I., Weber, K., Padowski, J., Flörke, M., Schneider, C., Green, P. A., … & Boucher, T. (2014). Water on an urban planet: Urbanization and the reach of urban water infrastructure. Global Environmental Change27, 96-105.

Tarrass, F., & Benjelloun, M. (2012). The effects of water shortages on health and human development. Perspectives in public health132(5), 240-244.

Scholarly Sources and Research 

Scholarly or Popular sources can both be used to provide more information about a research topic of interest. However, the two sources are quite distinct from each other in terms of format and reliability of the information for further research work. The first difference between scholarly and popular source is the author and the target audience. Popular sources are in most cases the works of journalists targeting the public with information and entertainment unlike the scholarly sources, which are works produced by researchers and subject experts and providing knowledge on a specific area of interest to scholars. Independent experts subject articles in scholarly sources to a vigorous process of peer review and evaluation, while the popular sources are just directly published. Another difference between the scholarly and popular sources is on the nature of their topic. Scholarly sources have specific titles, which are longer and describe the subject being discussed including the variables being addressed. This is unlike the title in the popular sources that are mostly short and witty, sound like a newspaper article, and meant to catch the attention of the readers. 

An example of a scholarly source on the issue of global water shortage is an article by Kummu, Ward Moel, & Varis (2010). This article sought to analyze the temporal development of physical population-driven water scarcity. A key strength of this source is that it used historical data and carries out statistical tests to provide the intended results. A bias that may be associated with this data source may be on the selection of a specific source of data to use in the analysis. A key strength in this scholarly source is on statistical tests that are used to provide indicators for global water shortage. This is effective in enhancing the reliability of the inference to be made. One limitation of this scholarly source is that its effectiveness largely depends on the quality of the secondary data used.

An example of a popular source used is an article by McClelland (2016) that identifies the looming of the worldwide water crisis. The article does not use any systematic procedures and thereby provides the information from a skewed perspective. A major strength of this source is that it is not limited in the breadth of issue that it addresses. A key limitation is based on the fact that the statistical figures presented are not cited and thereby not easy to ascertain their source. 


Kummu, M., Ward, P. J., de Moel, H., & Varis, O. (2010). Is physical water scarcity a new phenomenon? Global assessment of water shortage over the last two millennia. Environmental Research Letters5(3), 034006.McClelland, J. (2016). Worldwide Water Crisis in Looming. Raconteur. Retrieved from

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