UMN water scarcity map offers tool for better planning

Innovative approach to depicting the balance between water use and supply offers unprecedented resolution and incorporates both seasonal and dry-year data into a single global snapshot

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (1/20/16) Water is essential to human well-being, yet reports of water shortages surface daily. Now, thanks to a team of global water experts, planning for water development and use just took a giant leap forward.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, the Global Water Policy Project and the Center for Environmental Systems Research at the University of Kassel in Germany measured global water scarcity — the lack of sufficient water resources to meet demand — around the world at unprecedented resolution, incorporated seasonal and dry year shortages, and synthesized the information into a single, easily understandable global map that planners and policy-makers can use to improve access to water around the world. The result of their work was published today in the journal Elementa.

Most global water availability or scarcity maps look at big watersheds, sometimes as big as the whole Mississippi River basin, and average water use across the entire area. The new map examines watersheds at a smaller scale, offering a more detailed and accurate look at the water picture.
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