A new report gives the most comprehensive river assessment yet
article by National Geographic
The banks of the Indus River in Sukkur, Pakistan.
River biodiversity and our water security are in serious trouble, according to a comprehensive survey of waterways released yesterday. At risk are the water supplies of nearly 80 percent of humanity, and two-thirds of the world’s river habitats.
Hotspots of concern include nearly the whole of Europe, the Indian subcontinent, eastern China, southern Mexico, and the United States east of the Rockies.
But experts say there may be hope for restoring rivers and securing future water needs for cities, farms, energy production, industry—and for ecosystems—by “working with nature.”
“We, as a global society, are taking very poor care of water resources,” said survey co-leader Peter McIntyre, a zoologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. (See the UW website about the report.)
Rivers, wetlands, lakes, and the life that relies on them, are at risk around the world because of a variety of stresses, including overuse of water, pollution, introduction of exotic species, and overfishing, according to the new study, published today in the journal Nature.
The study maps out all of these stresses and nearly two dozen more; it is the first such detailed map of the threats to human water security and river biodiversity. (See our rivers photogallery.)