“Water, Water everywhere, but not a drop to drink” is a line taken from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the year 1797. Who would presume that, 200 years later, his words would still be applicable? Water comprises 75% of the globe, but of all of that, less than 1% of it is potable, or usable for agricultural growth. With over 6 billion humans on earth, it does not take a mathematician to predict an insufficiency of water. For anthropologists, water is a commodity that is considered to be the first requirement in defining poverty levels. Water crises are the result of groups of individuals who lack readily available access to potable water. In modern times there are solutions that already exist that could reduce water crises.
It is common knowledge California and arid regions in Africa are all in states of water crisis. In California, the water crisis is the effect of an undervaluation of water and the inability to conserve and recycle it efficiently. Laws in California regarding water usage, particularly on privately owned land, are undefined and based upon charters that were established back when California became a state in 1850. This has resulted in an underdeveloped system that, as it stands currently, is incapable of implementing modern water purification techniques. In Africa, the issue is merely one of access. The water in many communities in not potable, and in some communities there is limited or no water readily available. In essence, the water crisis in California is political in nature, and the water crises in Africa is technological in nature.
This water crisis directly affects our global ability to engage in sustainable agriculture, and is arguably one of the most important issues facing the world today.