In the words of the Greek poet Pindar, around 500 B.C., "Water is the best of all things." Water is absolutely essential to our survival-we drink it, we wash with it, and we use it to produce the vast majority of our products.
Right now, however, the world is facing a wide array of water issues. 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to an improved water supply, and 2.2 billion lack access to improved sanitation (1). In addition to these access issues, we are facing shortages, as 3.3 billion people live in countries that are overpumping their aquifers (2). While water is usually a renewable resource, these that these countries are drawing water from their aquifers faster than nature can replenish the aquifers. Thus, the overdraw of the aquifers acts as a depletable resource, on which one half of the world is relying.
We should be especially concerned about water when we look to the history of great civilizations before us, as in Mesopotamia. Their water shortages, the resulting agricultural shortages, and eventual desertification of the land brought them to their knees, and so will it with us if we don't take better care of our water resources.
Check back soon for the Lotus Live Guide to Water.
- The Future is Drying Up (in the Western U.S.) (NY Times Magazine 2007)
- Under China's Booming North, the Future is Drying Up (NY Times 2007)
- Human Appropriation of the World's Fresh Water Supply (U. Michigan)
- 21st Century Water Systems (RMI 1999)
- World's Water 2002-2003 (Chapter 1): Soft Path for Water (free download)
- Natural Capitalism (Chapter 11): Aqueous Solutions (free download)
- How to Green Your Water (Treehugger 2006)
Author: Nick Enge
Have something to add to this page? Submit your idea below!
Please remember to cite your sources.