Sunday, February 14, 2016

Four Billion People Face Fresh Water Scarcity At Least One Month A Year

From The Christian Science Monitor, "Fresh water crisis: Four billion people face water scarcity, says study: Scientists from the Netherlands suggest four billion people face water scarcity, twice the number previously expected. But the authors say this accurate assessment is important, because it sets the stage for real progress." by Story Hinckley:
Fresh water on Earth is scarce and getting scarcer – we know that. In 2015 the World Economic Forum ranked "water crises" as the top risk facing the planet.

But authors of a recent report published Friday in the journal Science Advances say previous studies have underestimated the severity of water scarcity around the world. Instead of impacting around two billion people as researchers previously suggested, it’s more along the lines of four billion, say Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen and Dr. Arjen Hoekstra at the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands.
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"Most of the previous water scarcity studies are done on an annual basis, which hides the actual variability within a year," co-author Dr. Mekonnen, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente, tells The Christian Science Monitor in an email Thursday. To understand water scarcity on the global level, Mekonnen and Hoekstra assessed local "blue water scarcity," or the amount of freshwater that is withdrawn and not returned, on a monthly level.

But these four billion people are not facing water scarcity all year round, notes Mekonnen, instead it’s more along the lines of one month a year.