All About Water: Background information when reading When the Rivers Run Dry

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When the Rivers Run Dry

Water--The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century

by Fred Pearce

When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce X
When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2006, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2007, 336 pages

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Beyond the Book:
All About Water

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Did you know?

  • The earth contains about 1.1 quadrillion acre-feet of water, but 97% is seawater.
  • Of the remaining 28 trillion acre-feet of freshwater on or near the surface, two-thirds is locked up as ice.
  • Only the remaining 9.7 trillion acre-feet is in liquid form, mostly in underground aquifers.
  • However, what is more meaningful for scientists is how fast a particular source can be replenished by rain. For example, many of the world's biggest aquifers are under deserts in North Africa and the Middle-East (the legacy of eons past), but they are not getting replenished.
  • It's estimated that it takes 1/2 an Olympic sized swimming pool in water to feed, water and clothe an average westerner.
  • The world grows twice as much food as it did a generation ago but uses 3-times as much water to do so.
  • A quarter of India's crops are being grown using non-renewable sources.
  • Salt from irrigation water causes 25 million acres of fields to become unusable every year.

    This article was originally published in August 2006, and has been updated for the March 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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