Peak water is the condition where water demand is higher than the rate at which supply is replenished. As referenced in an EcoSeed article, climate change, burgeoning population growth, pollution and increasedindustrial and agricultural capacity are putting more pressure onalready stretched water resources.
Although it is contentious,many believe that we have passed a tipping point in water consumption,the same way many believe we have passed a tipping point for oil. Inmany places there is clear evidence of over-extraction of groundwater in relation to recharge rates.
Around the world rivers and lakesare dead and dying, and groundwater aquifers are being utilized fasterthan they can be replenished. The result is aquatic life is being driven to extinction. These growing rates of water use have direct adverseimpacts on both human and ecosystem health.
A rise in globaltemperatures will be a major burden on water resources in the comingyears. Other factors like population growth, changes in dietarypatterns, urbanization, and economic development may prove even moreproblematic. Increased agricultural irrigation and increased water usage for industrial purposes are exploiting water reserves at anunprecedented rate. In India alone there are over 23 million deep borewells that are using technology created to access oil.
Althoughwater is not a finite resource like oil, the concept of peak water canfocus attention on water demand surpassing rates of replenishment. Theconcept has particular usefulness in countries like India, Pakistan andChina. It can also draw attention to the inefficient use of water whichis a global problem. Peak water could just be the wake-up call we needto better manage our water resources.