The decreasing amount of groundwater worldwide, especially in places with traditionally high levels, is a significant cause for concern. Winters are also becoming shorter and summers longer, and more water that the ground would have absorbed is now drying up and evaporating faster. All projections point to us needing more water for drinking, generating heat, growing plants, raising animals, and more.
Right now, humans are competing with nature for water. Plants will suffer if they lack water. Trees get dry, becoming a breeding ground for fungi and other organisms that can cause respiratory and other diseases when released into the air.
Reduced species diversity is another major challenge we face as humanity because once a species is lost, it's lost forever. This is seen in the declining rates of aquatic life forms you'll find in one area. Freshwater streams and rivers might seem innocuous, but they are among the most biodiverse habitats on the planet. However, when there is reduced water flow, some species won't survive.
Another cause for concern is the amount of wastewater in rivers and streams going into the groundwater. And while there is the technology that can purify it, the water will still contain toxic residues from pesticides and pharmaceuticals, including microplastics. Over the years, there have been many high-profile cases where industrial runoff poisoned drinking water sources, causing many illnesses to residents.
Another unexpected effect of water drying up is that it will compromise the soil. Tree roots are not getting the same amount of water, causing them to die. Dead and dry forests will also affect animals - they lose their habitat and add to the dropping biodiversity levels. Building structural integrity is now compromised because the ground is dryer. Foundations may no longer be stable when the soil used to be moist and compact; now, it is dry and cracked in many areas.
As the planet continues to dry out, it is losing many natural beaches and sights that people used to enjoy. As mentioned in the first part, mass migration will be inevitable as people desperately find other places to live. And finally, earthquakes will become more devastating because the soil is dryer, more brittle and easier to break apart and shake.
Solutions must be found as soon as possible because the chilling answer to the question: What happens when our water dries up?, is that it can't guarantee man's survival.
Directed by: Daniel Harrich