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Darci Palmquist's Posts

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Can we solve global water scarcity?

Texas' rivers and aquifers are among the most heavily depleted in the world. (Photo by Jeff Reid.)

Cross-posted from Cool Green Science, a Nature Conservancy blog.

You’re probably doing your part to conserve water, especially if you live in a drought-stricken area. But water is in short supply across the globe because of people’s increasing demands for it -- a huge problem for cities, agriculture, and industry that will only get worse with climate change.

Getting an accurate handle on what’s causing the problem has been missing -- until now. A new study in the journal PLoS ONE, coauthored by Nature Conservancy scientist Brian Richter, provides fresh insight into the factors behind water shortages in the world’s most important river basins.

The study provides the most comprehensive picture of the global water problem to date, looking at monthly rather than annual changes and digging into the actual causes of water depletion -- agricultural, industrial, and domestic -- in our ecosystems. While the findings aren’t rosy -- more than 2 billion people are affected by water shortages each year -- coauthor Richter says there are still reasons to be hopeful … read on to the end of this Q&A with him to find out what they are.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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We can feed 10 billion of us, study finds — but it won’t be easy

Cross-posted from Cool Green Science. Recent global population growth estimates (10 billion by 2100, anyone?) plus slowing annual increases in agricultural yields have a lot of analysts worried that many of those new people will suffer from chronic hunger -- and that much of the land that hasn't been converted to agriculture will be plowed under to grow crops. But a new study in the journal Nature argues that we can feed the world's growing population without destroying the planet ... if we make major adjustments now in agricultural and consumption practices and patterns. (Hey, if it were easy, we'd …

Read more: Food, Living, Population