According to a new study by US researchers Professor Peter McIntyre of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and City College of New York modeler Charles Vörösmarty, river systems and the lives they support are in a “crisis state” on a global scale. This analysis for the first time evaluated the world’s major rivers based on two main criteria: the stability of water supplies and the preservation of biodiversity.
Overall, the scientists found that water supplies for nearly 80% of the world’s populations are highly threatened, with over 30 of the 47 largest rivers in the world facing at least moderate jeopardy in terms of water security. Fourteen of these 47, or nearly a third, are also under very high threat of biodiversity loss. This is due in part projects such as dams, which have secured water supplies for humans but have also placed thousands of plant and animal species in danger.
To their surprise, the scientists also found that rivers in the developed world are among the most highly threatened. Moreover, the researchers stated that their findings were likely conservative, as this study did not account for pollution effects from activities such as mining, or contaminants affecting wildlife such as increasing levels of pharmaceutical substances in the water.
However, the scientists plan to use the analytical framework of the report to present the information more specifically to decision makers and provide them with recommendations for improvingthis potentially life-threatening situation.
We are grateful for this study, Drs. McIntyre and Vörösmarty, with its insights on the major water security problems we are facing in virtually every part of the planet.
May our urgent counter actions restore our precious rivers so that all beings depending on them may survive. During a July 2009 international seminar with our Association members, Supreme Master Ching Hai expressed deep concern regarding the spreading water crisis while identifying a way that both this and other environmental problems could be addressed.