f_0018626_15952 - The Future of Global Water Scarcity:...

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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations The Future of Global Water Scarcity: Policy and Management Challenges and Opportunities by J.C. Padowski and J.W. Jawitz W ater is a ubiquitous natural resource covering approximately three-quarters of the Earth’s surface. However, almost all of the water on the planet (over 97 percent) is saline ocean water, unusable by most terrestrial organisms. Of the remaining three percent, more than two-thirds is sequestered as ice and snow at high elevations or latitudes and is functionally unavailable, leaving less than one percent of global water as both fresh and potentially available for meeting human needs (Figure 1). 1 While this fraction of available fresh water is small compared to the overall volume of water on the planet, this supply has been sufficient to meet historic needs. During the past century, water availability has become a prominent global concern, particularly as demands for fresh water have grown beyond our capacity to meet them. Inefficient or non-existent water management regulations and policies, often combined with a lack of financial capital and a poor understanding of how local systems function, have perpetuated unsustainable water management practices. As a result, over-allocation and inefficient use of local water resources have significantly diminished supplies in many areas. 2 Groundwater mining—where water resources are removed at rates exceeding that at which they are recharged—has led to dramatic drops in water table levels in India, the United States, China, and Mexico threatening water supplies, the health of local ecosystems, and future food security. 3 Water quality degradation exacerbates these problems as pollution, poor sanitation, industrial waste, and salinization render available water sources unusable. In response to these problems, more governments are discarding old water management practices that ignore the socio-economic and environmental aspects of water use, Julie C. Padowsk i is a graduate student of Environmental Hydrology at the University of Florida. James W. Jawitz is a professor in the Soil and Water Science Department at the University of Florida specializing in Environmental Hydrology. 99 ....... Inefficient or non- existent water management regulations and politics, often combined with a lack of financial capital and a poor understanding of how local systems function, have perpetuated unsustainable water management practices.
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The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations and instead are adopting a new management frameworK that re-envisions water from a more holistic perspective. This paradigm shift on water resource use and development is designed to promote sustainability by accounting for the full range of water needs (social, economic, environmental) across sectors (agriculture, urban, industrial, ecosystem) through institutional coordination (local, regional, national, international). While the new frameworK seeKs to integrate multiple facets of water
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f_0018626_15952 - The Future of Global Water Scarcity:...

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