More than 2 billion people already lack access to safe drinking water at home. By 2025, more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas. We at zNano WaterTech provide filtering products and customized processes that help protect water supplies, but technological innovations alone won’t solve the looming global water challenges. For that, we need governments, scientists, technologists and concerned people of all sectors working across local, state and national boundaries to develop comprehensive, science-based solutions.
If we don’t come together like this, regions of the world where water supplies are ample may before long face the prospect of millions of “water refugees” – people from drought and diminished-supply areas trying to move en masse to wetter areas just to survive.
The world’s food supplies also are stake because much of today’s large-scale agricultural production takes place in areas, like the Central Valley in California, that already face chronic water scarcity. Yet agriculture is the largest user of water worldwide.
The Pew Charitable Trusts’ annual publication TREND focuses this year on water and the impacts across geography of climate change and human use that are resulting in dwindling water supplies across parts of the globe and, at the same time, historic floods and oversupply in others.
“We know this thanks to 14 years’ worth of satellite data collected by a unique NASA Earth-observing mission called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE),” writes hydrologist James S. Famiglietti, director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, in TREND. Dr. Famiglietti previously was the senior water scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and a professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. “The data quantified the rates at which all regions on Earth are gaining or losing water, allowing my colleagues and me to produce the accompanying map. And what the map shows is also simple to understand but deeply troubling: Water security — a phrase that simply means having access to sufficient quantities of safe water for our daily lives — is at a greater risk than most people realize.”
Dr. Famiglietti and colleagues spent more than 10 years studying the data and published the map and their report in 2018. “Perhaps the most concerning feature throughout the years of the map’s development has been persistent, distinct patterns that define emerging classes of water ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ around the world,” he said.
Areas at high latitudes, such as the northern half of the U.S., and at low latitudes, closer to the equator, are getting wetter. Areas in between – the middle latitudes of arid and semiarid conditions – are getting drier. “Against this broad backdrop … the map is dotted with numerous ‘hot spots’—places where rapidly increasing (deeper blue spots) or rapidly decreasing (deeper red spots) amounts of water pose major threats to human and environmental well-being in a variety of ways.”
We have zero time to waste – we need all hands on deck addressing these issues. Take a look at Pew’s TREND article, including the “hot spots” map. Read the full article here.