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Orphaned Poisoned Waters

by Rick Mills, Ahead of the Herd:

There’s a lot of water on the planet we inhabit – an estimated 326 million trillion gallons or 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters. Hard to believe are reports water is going to get much dearer in our near term future – yet Peter Voser, chief executive of the world’s second-largest energy company, Royal Dutch Shell, warned us, as far back as June 2011, that global demand for fresh water may outstrip supply by as much as 40 per cent in 20 years if current fresh-water consumption trends continue. And Voser isn’t the only one warning about future fresh water shortages…

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) predicts that by 2025, one-third of all humans will face severe and chronic water shortages.

“According to the United Nations, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth, and climate change.” National Geographic

 

The World Economic Forum has placed the world water crisis in the top three of global problems, alongside climate change and terrorism.

 

Our fresh water resource

 

Our planet is 70 percent covered in ocean – 98% of the world’s water is in the oceans. Which makes 98% of the world’s water unfit for drinking, or irrigation.

 

Just 2% of the world’s water is fresh. The vast majority of our fresh water, 1.64%, is in its frozen state and locked up in the polar ice caps, Greenland’s ice sheet and glaciers. Once it melts its contaminated by seawater, either by melting directly into the oceans or running to the world’s oceans through a stream or river.

 

Our available freshwater, .36% of the water on the planet, is found underground in aquifers and wells, and on the surface in lakes and rivers.

 

“In many parts of the world, in particular in the dry, mid-latitudes, far more water is used than is available on an annual, renewable basis. Precipitation, snowmelt, and stream flow are no longer enough to supply the multiple, competing demands for society’s water needs. Because the gap between supply and demand is routinely bridged with non-renewable groundwater, even more so during drought, groundwater supplies in some major aquifers will be depleted in a matter of decades. The myth of limitless water and the free-for-all mentality that has pervaded groundwater use must now come to an end. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory hydrologist James Famiglietti, Nature Climate Change

 

There are currently 7.4 billion of us sharing the world’s fresh water resources. By 2050 the United Nations (UN) expects the world’s population to reach 9.7 billion. Feeding everyone in 2050 could require 50% more water than is needed now.

 

One of the greatest issues facing us in the 21st century is how we will share this less than half a per cent of usable freshwater to feed our increasing population. If the predicted 40 percent shortfall occurs, and United Nations (UN) population growth estimates are correct, by 2050 we’ll need to feed 2.3 billion more people using far less fresh water than we have available today.

 

Advances in technology, innovation, and best practices/conservation are already clashing with finite water resources, relentless population growth, changing diets, a lack of investment in water infrastructure and increased urban, agricultural and industrial water usage.

 

Investment in water management as a percentage of GDP has dropped by half in most countries since the late 1990s.

 

Water is a commodity whose scarcity will have a profound effect on the world within the next decade – the danger to us from the worsening ecological overshoot concerning the world’s fresh water supply makes the reevaluation of our values mandatory. We will have to drastically change the way in which we view our freshwater as a resource.

 

Current estimates indicate that we will not have enough water to feed ourselves in 25 years time.” International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Director General Colin Chartres

 

There is widespread legacy surface and groundwater contamination continuing today that makes valuable water supplies unfit for other uses.

Read More @ Aheadoftheherd.com

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