Water Maps Show Stress Spread Out Across the Planet

By Eliza Strickland | October 1, 2010 2:16 pm

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]

Related Content:
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.

  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.


  • Katakin

    Correction, for this is constantly slightly misquoted (I just like the stanza preceding):

    Day after day, day after day,
    We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
    As idle as a painted ship
    Upon a painted ocean.

    Water, water, everywhere,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink.

  • scott

    We are a fool of a species to allow this to happen…rivers, lakes and oceans, the situation is not great, and easily corrected. Besides getting in the face of polluting corporations, there should be a major public education push towards not only conserving water, but keeping it clean. I can’t see all the chemical pollutants in the water, but everywhere I go I see the affects of human laziness – and it grows. I just spent 6 weeks in the mediterranean, and the amount of trash, plastics, etc was just sickening. Not to mention the jellyfish that swarm so much now that swimming is not safe in many areas (due to overfishing I think). Two trips now I have had to avoid the water in many areas due to Jellyfish..in Monaco they have installed giant nets around their beach to keep them out. Other areas it’s hit or miss, one day no jellies, the next day one every square foot. In California, France, Greece, the Texas coast, a lake in California, does not matter, I see trash strewn about, floating, settled on the bottom…and usually there are convenient areas close by to dispose of it. I had been swimming at the beach in Nice every morning, they keep it pretty clean, anyway, one morning there was a big thunderstorm and the beaches in the whole region were trashed from the runoff and it took 3 days to get clean again. A thick layer of cigarettes, various trash, wrappers, plastic bottles, cups, etc floated in the water and covered the beaches. Same thing happens in LA after a big rain. People I dont think will do it, it takes communist style laws, sadly, to get the bulk of people and corporations to put in an effort to dispose of their trash.

  • Dante The Canadian

    I’m so happy to live in Canada!!! Look at all that gorgeous BLUE that shows all the Fresh water we have access to!!!

    Hey USA? Wanna buy a cup? hehehehe …


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