Humans may have already exceeded freshwater planetary boundary, scientists say

By on June 26, 2015

NASA satellite mosaic of Earth (Credit: NASA)


According to a recent press release from Stockholm University, people are using more freshwater than the planet is producing. This puts human consumption of freshwater past a planetary boundary of sustainability, researchers say.

The deficit is driven by human influences on the amount of freshwater on the planet, including  increases in evapotranspiration through expanding agriculture and hydroelectric power.

However, researchers looking at both human and climate-driven freshwater usage changes found that they tend to counteract each other. While the human-driven change view seems to suggest a net over-consumption of freshwater, including the changes made by climate seems to dampen the overall effect of human-driven consumption.

Nevertheless, research indicates that no matter what method is being used to assess human consumption of freshwater, it is clear that too much freshwater is being consumed and people need to be more proactive in conserving freshwater in the future.

Featured Image: NASA satellite mosaic of Earth (Credit: NASA)

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