Management of water usage in MEDCs

There are problems in supplying water in MEDCs. These are:

  • the quality of available water
  • distribution
  • the seasonal changes in supply
  • broken pipes when transporting water

Both water supply and the demand for water need to be managed.

Managing water supply

In the UK there is a big issue with water supply. Areas which receive high amounts of rainfall tend to be sparsely populated.

One third of the UK population live in south-east England. This is also the driest area in the UK.

Ways to manage the water supply include:

  • making sure the broken pipes are mended (as water loss from broken pipes can be as much as 30 per cent)
  • using reservoirs and dams in one area to pipe water into large urban areas
  • making sure that the water supply is of good quality - reducing fertiliser use on farms helps this

In December 2010, over 40,000 people had water supply problems in Northern Ireland. One reason was because the water pipes were quite old - some over 60 years old. This meant that when there was a spell of very cold weather, many pipes could not cope and the pipelines failed.

Managing water demand

The demand for domestic water can be monitored. Households with water meters in the UK use less water in general than those without. Households can also conserve water. Ways to do this are:

  • having a shower instead of a bath
  • collecting rainwater to use on the garden rather than tap water
  • recycling bath water to flush the toilets with
  • installing more efficient versions of appliances such as washing machines

Industries can also look to recycle waste water. For example, when using water for cooling in steel-making, the water can be recycled again and again in the process.

In agriculture, drip-feed irrigation systems could be used rather than sprinkler systems.