Monday, October 06, 2008

Impending global water crisis

The GSA annual meeting kicked off yesterday in Houston with a York Lecture addressing the impending global water crisis.

Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, talked about overproduction of groundwater resources as similar to the dot-com bust of a decade ago. The world population will add 2.5 billion people in the next 40 years, while the amount and cost of energy to pump, divert, and use water is increasing per unit of energy delivered. Combine these with the "dismantling of Earth's natural systems" that manage water resources, and the crash seems obvious. Postel noted that 35% of river flows are captured or diverted today, compared to only 5% as recently as 1950. This is changing river habitats, viability of many fish and aquatic species, flood plains as protection zones and so on.

She challenged the audience that current Western water policies are making the situation worse with a 'use it or lose it' legal approach that negates the values of leaving water in the natural system and only values water that is pulled out and used.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post...War over water can be addressed with the age old barter system. Read more about this issue at