The Earth’s rivers are in a “crisis state” according to a recent study in the journal Nature.
Sscientists estimate that nearly 80% of global population – equivalent of 5 billion people – live in regions which face high threat levels to water security. This includes much of the United States, including the Mississippi River basin, and the entire European continent.
Governments in the United States and Europe have collectively invested trillions of dollars to clean freshwater resources, but it appears this investment is not sufficient to address the threats from climate change, increasing pollution and water demands from growing population centers.
“Red zones” indicating high levels of river mismanagement and pollution are also found in India’s Ganges River basin as well as Eastern China’s Yangtze River.
Scientists warn that people in industrialized nations often fail to recognize the severity of river pollution because tap water is cleaned and filtered before it reaches the end consumer.
“In the industrialized world, the water management strategy is to patch up the problems at the end of the pipeline rather than the underlying causes,” said Peter McIntyre, co-lead author at the University of Michigan. Read more…