Oct 13, 2010

Water - The Next World Crisis???

About 80% of the world's population lives in areas where the fresh water supply is not secure.
Researchers compiled a composite index of "water threats" that includes issues such as scarcity and pollution.  The most severe threat category encompasses 3.4 billion people.  Conserving water for people through reservoirs and dams works for people, but not nature.

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What we're able to outline is a planet-wide pattern of threat”
Charles VorosmartyCity College of New York
Instead, governments should invest in water management strategies that combine infrastructure with "natural" options such as safeguarding watersheds, wetlands and flood plains.
This a map that plots the composite threat to human water security and to biodiversity in squares 50km by 50km (30 miles by 30 miles) across the world.

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One concept advocated by development organisations nowadays is integrated water management, where the needs of all users are taken into account and where natural features are integrated with human engineering.
One widely-cited example concerns the watersheds that supply New York, in the Catskill Mountains and elsewhere around the city. Water from these areas historically needed no filtering. That threatened to change in the 1990s, due to agricultural pollution and other issues.  The city invested in a program of land protection and conservation; this has maintained quality, and is calculated to have been cheaper than the alternative of building treatment works.

For developed countries and the BRIC group - Brazil, Russia, India and China - alone, $800bn per year will be required by 2015 to cover investments in water infrastructure, a target likely to go unmet.  For poorer countries, the outlook is considerably more bleak.

Climate change is going to affect the amount of water that comes in as precipitation; and if you overlay that on an already stressed population, we're rolling the dice.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11435522


  1. Oh... water is indeed a staple need by every living thing. We must conserve it for the future. Some even say that if ever there would be a third world war (heaven forbid), it would be war over water. Hmmm.

  2. Important post Ken. This one is on out radar. I'm going to try to give it press a few times a year. I think I've done three posts so far on water issues. Let's hope the information isn't just buried.

  3. I remember seeing a television documentary on CurrenTV about the looming water shortage. As crucial as water is o survival, you would think that would alter the percecption on protecting the environment.


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