Tag Archives: Water Cycle

Most of the world’s population faces water shortages within ‘two generations’

Two generations from now, the over 9 billion people which are likely to walk the face of the planet will face dramatic water shortage, as climate change, pollution and overusage of resources start taking their toll, a group of 500 researchers warns.

water crisis

The thing is, if we, as a society continue developing at the same pace, the world’s water systems will soon reach a tipping point, and will go past the point of no return, which “could trigger irreversible change with potentially catastrophic consequences”, more than 500 water experts warned on Friday as they called on governments to start conserving the vital resource. They stress that freshwater is not an endless renewable resource, and today, people in many areas of the world are pumping out water which can just not renew in time.

“These are self-inflicted wounds,” said Charles Vörösmarty, a professor at the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Centre. “We have discovered tipping points in the system. Already, there are 1 billion people relying on ground water supplies that are simply not there as renewable water supplies.”

Water in the Anthropocene from WelcomeAnthropocene on Vimeo.

Even today, 4.5 billion people live 50km or closer to an ‘impaired’ water resource, one that is either polluted, or running dry – and the trend is accelerating. Instead of starting to conserve our most valuable resource, we are polluting and overusing more and more water.

The threats are numerous; climate change is the biggest, but not the only enemy. The run-off from agricultural fertilisers containing nitrogen has already created more than 200 large “dead zones” in seas, near to rivermouths, where fish can no longer live. Cheap technology to pump out enormous quantities of water from the underground has led to the over-use of often scarce resources, usually for irrigation or industrial purposes. The fact that global popullation is constantly growing is not helping either.

Access to water is already a luxury in some parts of the world, and most of the areas where access to water is scarce are in very poor country, which have little chance to cope with this emerging problem.

But scientists warn that the “evolved” areas of the world will have a lot to suffer as well. Even now, 210 million citizens of the US are living within 10 miles of an “impaired” water source, and that number is likely to rise as the effects of global warming take hold. In Europe, some water sources are running dry because of over-extraction for irrigation, which is done highly unsustainably.

Pollutants are also causing massive damage in the so-called ‘rich world’ – researchers especially emphasize endocrine disruptors, which can cause fish to change gender, and the long-term effects of which on human populations are as yet barely known.

“There is no citizen of the world who can be complacent about this,” said Janos Bogardy, director of the UN University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security.

Via Guardian

Indo-UK Joint Research Projects for Bioenergy and Water Dynamics

Hyderabad (South India): Developing alternative but sustainable energy resources to save scarce fossil resources and understanding the dynamics of changing water cycles to improve ecosystems in South Asia.

These are the broad areas agreement for green-field collaborative research entered into by India and the UK shaving an investment of 14.7 million British Pounds.

The latest initiatives, just announced recently in New Delhi, are expected to further boost the bilateral ties between the two nations.

The bioenergy project envisages inventing energy products from plants and algae alternative to fossil fuels, with a funding of 10 million BP. The research is expected to help both the countries.

The UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Indian Government’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have agreed to jointly fund the research for sustainable bioenergy.

“ It will support collaborative science which aims to solve shared problems in the production and processing of plants and algae for bioenergy, research that could help both nations develop sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels,” according to UK Universities and Science Minister David Willetts who was here recently in India.

On the other hand, the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES) will jointly fund £4.7 million for research into the pattern of changing water cycles in South Asia.

In this connection, Prof. Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and Rob Lynes, British Council’s Director in India, on behalf of UKIERI, signed a statement of intent to work together towards a new PhD partnering initiative between the UK and India.

The five UK-India projects funded under this programme range from understanding the dynamics of groundwater systems, improved irrigation water management, rainfall patterns and how they affect ecosystems.

The Indian arm of the Research Council UK (RCUK) which is the umbrella organization of seven prestigious science research organization of Britain, since inception in the year 2008, had facilitated joint research collaboration between the UK, India and third parties to the tune of  over £80 million compared with £1 million in 2008.

RCUK India is now actively involved in significant co-funded activities with seven different Indian research funders, working together on a wide array of research themes helping to address global challenges such as energy and climate change to social sciences, healthcare and life sciences.

The UK Research Councils (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Each year the Research Councils invest around £3 billion in research covering the full spectrum of academic disciplines from the medical and biological sciences to astronomy, physics, chemistry and engineering, social sciences, economics, environmental sciences and the arts and humanities.

The seven councils are: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).//EOM//