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“Water scarcity” — a condition defined by the withdrawal of more water than is sustainably available

 

 

Photo credit: Nature

‘Water scarcity’ affects four billion people each year

Global map charts locations that use more water than is available in at least one month each year.

by Emma Marris

In the western United States, disputes over the management of the Klamath River, which wends its way from southern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean through northern California, have made blood boil for generations. Cattle ranchers and potato farmers want to take the water out for irrigation; Native American tribes, environmentalists, hunters and anglers want to leave it in to support fish and waterfowl populations. Every summer, tempers flare as the rain dries up and water levels begin to fall.

But until now, most global analyses would not have categorized the basin as experiencing “water scarcity” — a condition defined by the withdrawal of more water than is sustainably available. That’s because the analyses have been done on an annual basis, and it is only for three months of the year, in July, August and September, that water from the Klamath River is in short supply.

Read the full article: Nature

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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