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Showing posts from May 27, 2007

A World Of Thirst

A World Of Thirst

A World of Thirst
Poor sanitation. Pollution. Wasteful irrigation. The planet's freshwater supply is terribly managed
By Bret Schulte

Posted 5/27/07

Over the course of the past 40 years, north Africa's Lake Chad has shriveled to one tenth its earlier size, beset by decades of drought and agricultural irrigation that have sucked water from the rivers that feed it—even as the number of people whose lives depend on its existence has grown. In 1990, the Lake Chad basin supported about 26 million people; by 2004 the total was 37.2 million. In the next 15 years, experts predict, the incredible shrinking lake and its tapped rivers will need to support 55 million. "You don't have much room for error at this point," says hydrologist Michael Coe.

The population growth has coincided with a 25 percent decrease in rainfall, with global warming very likely a factor. As oceans store more heat, the temperature difference between water and land dissipates, sapping pow…