Water Consumption Needs Urgently to Be Managed
In 2010, the UN declared access to clean water a human right. Three years later, 500 water scientists from the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Centre warned that the majority of people on Earth will be forced to live with severe pressure on fresh water supply within the space of two generations, due to over-use, climate change and pollution.
Considering this sobering prediction, which could lead to death and human disaster, it's no surprise that organizations, NGOs and governments are putting increased pressure on industries, such as mining, which uses water heavily, to be more sustainable.
Not that encouragement should be needed, as for miners, no water means no business.
Mining uses water primarily for mineral processing, dust suppression, slurry transport and employees' needs. In most mining operations, water is sought from groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes, or through commercial water service suppliers. But often, mine sites are located in areas where water is already scarce and, understandably, local communities and authorities often oppose mines using water from these sources.
But it isn't just the procurement of water that's a problem; water extraction is also an issue. In many cases, especially with underground mining, water needs to be pumped away from a mine site, which can reduce the levels of ground water, deplete surface water or cause pollution to local rivers.
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