Tag Archive for 'peak ecological water'

Is the U.S. Reaching Peak Water?

Photo retrieved from: www.forbes.com

“Overall, there is plenty of water on the planet and it is (mostly) a renewable resource. But there are serious physical, environmental, and economical constraints on water availability that make regional water problems increasingly urgent. As a result, there are growing efforts in the business and investment communities to understand how risks of water shortages might affect corporate strategy and decisions, and conversely, how to maintain a strong economy in the face of growing freshwater limits. [For example, the UN CEO Water Mandate, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Alliance for Water Stewardship, the World Economic ForumDEG-WWF Water Risk Filter, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), among others, all have water and business-related efforts underway.]

There are three different definitions of “peak water” and there is evidence that the U.S., or parts of the country, have exceeded peak constraints for all three: Peak Renewable Water, Peak Non-Renewable Water, and Peak Ecological Water.

Peak Renewable Water. Most water resources are renewable, in the form of flows of rainfall, rivers, streams, and groundwater basins that are recharged over relatively short time frames. Renewable, however, does not mean unlimited.”

Read more: Forbes

 

Has the U.S. Passed the Point of Peak Water?

2010-10-11-PeakWaterPNASGleickPalaniappan2010.jpg

retrieved from: Huffington Post

“Freshwater is fundamental for maintaining human health, agricultural production, economic activity, and critical ecosystem functions. But as populations and economies grow, new constraints on water resources are appearing, raising questions about ultimate limits to water availability. Such resource questions are not new. The specter of “peak oil” — a peaking and then decline in oil production — has long been predicted and debated. Arecent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences I wrote with a colleague, Meena Palaniappan, offers three concepts of “peak water:” peak renewable water, peak nonrenewable water, and peak ecological water. And it looks like the U.S. has passed all three points.

“Peak renewable water applies where flow constraints limit total water availability over time. Peak nonrenewable water is observable in groundwater systems where production rates substantially exceed natural recharge rates and where overpumping or contamination leads to a peak of production followed by a decline, similar to more traditional peak-oil curves. Peak “ecological” water is defined as the point beyond which the total costs of ecological disruptions and damages exceed the total value provided by human use of that water.”

read more: Huffington Post