Friday, May 04, 2018

Follow the Water

The challenge of freshwater scarcity and ecosystem depletion is rapidly emerging as one of the defining fulcrums of world politics and human civilization. A century of unprecedented freshwater abundance is being eclipsed by a new age characterized by acute disparities in water wealth, chronic insufficiencies, and deteriorating environmental sustainability across many of the most heavily populated parts of the planet. Just as oil conflicts played a central role in defining the history of the 1900s, the struggle to command increasingly scarce, usable water resources is set to shape the destinies of societies and the world order of the twenty-first century. Water is overtaking oil as the world's scarcest critical natural resource. But water is more than the new oil. Oil, in the end, is substitutable, albeit painfully, by other fuel sources, or in extremis can be done without; but water's uses are pervasive, irreplaceable by any other substance, and utterly indispensable.

- Steven Solomon in Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization

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