This is World Xtra from the BBC. In this series we look at various ideas that you may hear about in the news and current affairs programmes.
John talks to an expert in every programme, who can tell us all about the topic. Today’s topic is water.
John: Hello. Today, we’re talking about water and what we can do something that is vital to life on earth. It is essential to grow food and without it human activity would cease.
John: Not everyone has access to enough of it and we’re going to meet the BBC’s Environment Correspondent Richard Black who’s going to explore the problems with water.
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John: You’ll hear Richard talking about areas of the world that suffer from having too little water and other areas having too much. Sub-Saharan Africa does not receive enough water and suffers from drought – long periods of the year when there’s no rain at all.
John: Other areas that suffer like this are in Central Asia. But some parts of the world suffer from having too much water, where too much rain falls in a very short space of time. So who is being most affected?
Access to water
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Richard: Well, there are certain regions which are affected by having too little water, but there are also regions that are affected by having too much water all in one go and really the areas of the world that are quite dry.
Richard: So if you think about areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, areas of Central Asia – these are the ones that feel the impact of having too little water more often than most.
John: So what causes water shortages in some areas and water increases in others? Richard says people in mountain areas may well suffer badly. There, glaciers are melting. Large areas of ice could be released in one rush.
John: He also talks about how industrialisation uses more water leaving less to drink. But he also mentions that agriculture uses a lot of water as well – it’s thirsty.
Richard: As the glaciers disappear that’s going to mean that all that water is going to come down in one rush. By having more industry you can actually use more water, in industry, which means there’s less available for people to drink.
Richard: On the other hand as societies develop they often move from being agricultural to being industrial. And that can actually reduce water usage because agriculture is very thirsty.
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"By having more industry you can actually use more water, in industry, which means there’s less available for people to drink."
Let’s look again at some of the words and phrases used by John and Richard in that report.
First, the two extremes of the global water problem – some areas suffer from droughts – not enough rain, which means that they are very dry, and it is very difficult for crops to grow there.
And then of course other areas suffer from floods – too much water, which can also lead to problems.
One reason that some areas may experience floods or too much water is because of glaciers melting.
A glacier is a large area of ice which usually stays frozen, but because of climate change, many are starting to melt.
Richard also pointed out that industrialisation, when an area becomes used industrially, when industry starts in an area, has an effect on water usage because factories and other types of production use a lot of water, which can mean there isn’t enough to drink.
However, we also heard that agriculture, or farming is very ‘thirsty’.
Usually we use the word thirsty to describe people who need a drink but it can also be used to describe anything which requires a lot of water.
Today’s edition of World Xtra looked at water .