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Mapping the Effects of Human Intervention on the Global Water Supply

Climate change is only part of the story, but humans have left a detectable footprint on the distribution of the global water supply.
May 21, 2018, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tom Grundy

Eric Holthaus shares news of a new study that analyzes data from groundwater-detecting satellites. The results of the study, published in the journal Nature, are "equal parts terrifying and long-expected," according to Holthaus.

The authors used the satellite data to construct a map of 34 rapidly changing regions around the world, painting a unified picture of current hot spots of water scarcity and excess. Nearly every activity that involves people requires water — rice farming, nuclear power, aluminum smelting, you name it — so the lives of people living where reserves are being rapidly depleted are under grave threat.

According to Holthaus, the study makes the future threat of water scarcity abundantly clear.

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Published on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 in Grist
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