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Earlier this week we brought you news of water woes in the American southwest, where reservoir levels have dropped dangerously low, and in China, where the government is spending $60 billion to route water to parched cites like Beijing. Now comes news of just how widespread the world’s water problems really are. A study in Nature reports that nearly 80 percent of the world’s population lives in areas where the fresh water supply isn’t secure. And while industrialized nations have made massive investments in infrastructure to keep the faucets flowing, those projects have taken a toll on the environment.
[The researchers] say that in western countries, conserving water for people through reservoirs and dams works for people, but not nature. They urge developing countries not to follow the same path. Instead, they say governments should to invest in water management strategies that combine infrastructure with “natural” options such as safeguarding watersheds, wetlands and flood plains. [BBC News]
80beats: Water Woes: The Southwest’s Supply Dwindles; China’s Behemoth Plumbing Project Goes On
80beats: Saudi to Use Plentiful Resource (Sunlight) to Produce Scarce Resource (Fresh Water)
80beats: From 300 Miles Up, Satellites See Water Crisis in India’s Future
DISCOVER: How Big Is Your Water Footprint?
DISCOVER: Dams, From Hoover to Three Gorges to the Crumbling Ones
Images: Nature / C. J. Vörösmarty et al.