Tuesday, June 11, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The world’s most precious resource – and in every way more valuable than all the oil, gold and other precious metals combined – is water, but scientists are warning it is becoming so scarce in many regions that governments should start rationing it now, before it runs out completely.
Climate change, pollution and over-use of resources over the past two generations have taken their toll on the availability of clean, potable water for many of the earth’s 9 billion people, 500 scientists warned in a new study.
According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which reported the findings, the experts believe the world’s water systems will soon reach a tipping point that “could trigger irreversible change with potentially catastrophic consequences.” Calling on governments to begin conservation of water now, the scientists “said it was wrong to see fresh water as an endlessly renewable resource because, in many cases, people are pumping out water from underground sources at such a rate that it will not be restored within several lifetimes,” the paper reported.
The causes are numerous
“These are self-inflicted wounds,” said Charles Vorosmarty, 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.”
The scientists say about half the world’s people – about 4.5 billion globally – already live near an “impaired” water source, or one that is set to run dry or that is polluted. If the trends continue, those people and hundreds of millions more could soon see the water upon which they depend disappear for good or become so dirty it no longer supports life.
The experts said the threats are multi-tiered and many. Among them is climate change, which “is likely to cause an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts, floods, heatwaves and storms,” said the paper in summarizing the scientists’ concerns.