ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

Painting a Picture of the “Era of Peak Water”

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Wired has a great article on the “era of peak water”. The author, Matthew Power, makes an argument for the need of more and better data:

One barrier to better management of water resources is simply lack of data — where the water is, where it’s going, how much is being used and for what purposes, how much might be saved by doing things differently. In this way, the water problem is largely an information problem. The information we can assemble has a huge bearing on how we cope with a world at peak water.

The article investigates the problem of water scarcity by looking at three case studies:

  • Chandler, Arizona, in the US South-West dessert, where Intel currently has three chip plants running. And chip plants need a lot and very clean water. Of course, Intel will always have more money than the average water needing person.

  • London, UK, where Thames Water, a private water-supply company, needs to deal with old and leaking pipe networks

  • Australia, “the most arid continent after Antarctica”, where droughts have catastrophic effect on rice farming. Of course you might ask, why try to grow rice in an arid region?

On top of agriculture, industry, and human needs, all of which grow on a global scale, the impacts of climate changing towards more extreme conditions effects the water supply at all those three sites negatively and severely.

Written by Claus

April 30th, 2008 at 7:14 am

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