Irrigation Efficiency Paradox

USGS.gov

What happens when the water cycle fails because we won’t change our water wasting ways? And when those dry rivers meet the sea, what then? How will that outcome affect our coasts and oceans? How will we live, upland and down, without water?

According to the US Geological Survey, some 70% of the available freshwater worldwide is used for irrigation. I find this astonishing. That the remaining 30% accumulated in the aquifers, lakes and rivers, wells and annual rainfall, that is the volume by which our drinking water, sanitation, manufacturing needs are met. And this supply is further diminished by pollution and changing climate conditions, fire, drought, erosion, and mis-management. It is no wonder that our cities around the world are critically short of water for basic public health, that refugees are moving in search of water-rich opportunity, that the commodification of water continues as we monetize and profit from diminished supply and increased demand, and that we are beginning to understand the threat of water as a cause for instability and conflict.

Dedicated to sharing information about ocean issues: climate to trade, culture to governance. The sea connects all things. Online at WorldOceanObservatory.org.