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Are We on the Path to Peak Water?

Intro image

Many scientists and experts fear that humanity is reaching the point of peak water — the point at which freshwater is being consumed faster than it is being replenished or available. In the infographic above we take a look at the amount of water use around the world. Can we cut back before we reach the point of no return?

Kylie Schultz researched, wrote and produced this infographic as a participant in the Ensia Mentor Program. Her mentor for the project was Ensia director Todd Reubold. Infographic design and layout by Amber Billings.

Add Your Comments
  • Rob Feb. 19th, 2014
    How much time do the experts say is left? Seems like an important aspect not stated here.
  • Brandon Feb. 20th, 2014
    Based on the image, it appears we've already passed the peak on a global basis. We are currently withdrawing groundwater faster than it is replenished. It likely varies with region as to if we're already overpumping or just drawing near the point of overpumping locally.

    How long we can overpump these aquifers before pumping becomes more difficult and costly on an energetic and financial basis is the next question. (Not to mention the negative impacts such as inflow of brackish water or ground subsidence both caused by draining aquifers.)
  • Robin Wiseman Feb. 24th, 2014
    Good lecture on peak water by Dr Peter Gleick of Pacific Institute here:
  • Pingback, Mar. 18th, 2014
  • Pingback, Mar. 22nd, 2014
  • Victor J Yepello Mar. 24th, 2014
    Can you tell me what the change of ice and snow water has been as the polar ice caps are now and have been melting? Thank you
  • Gopal Singh Bhati Apr. 5th, 2014
    We are on the path of peak of human ingenuity we cannot take the water as a fragmented issue treated in isolation.
    Water is not disconnected with earth,air,space or energy.We are on the path of destruction of nature to propagate our mean desires of superioty of human being over nature.We are forgetting that we are part of nature.We need to tackle the issue of human beings rather than water.If we redefine our relation with nature and our value system issue of water will automatically fall in line.
  • Pingback, Apr. 24th, 2014
  • Alan Jul. 26th, 2014
    Speaking about Continental Europe and Peak Water, when the domino s fall and mass migration from India, Saharan Africa and the Middle East affects which exist in the temperate and less densly populated zones of the world i.e Middle, Eastern and Northern Europe will anything be done to stop them?
    What about my family and their right to life?
    Too many people chasing too little.
  • Clyde V Feb. 16th, 2015
    Alan, realize your comment is based in fear. Humans always have and always will work better as a team, co-operative. When the time comes, we will pull through trials together.
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