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When We Run Out of Water
- The Tyee
When people use freshwater beyond a physically sustainable rate, it sets off a cascade of impacts on ecosystems, people and the planet. Groundwater wells run dry, fish populations become stranded before they are able to spawn and protected wetland ecosystems turn into dry landscapes.
Developments in computer models and satellites have fostered a new understanding of how freshwater is being redistributed around the planet and have made clear the central role that people play in this change. This human impact is so significant that organizations like the United States Geological Survey are redrawing their water cycle diagram to include the impacts of human actions.
Equally important as understanding how people affect freshwater availability is understanding how people and ecosystems will respond to amplified freshwater challenges including drought, water stress and groundwater depletion.
While these challenges impact localized sites, their impacts are scattered across the world. To address this global water crisis, global action is urgently needed.