We’re Using it Up

Water Using it Up

Ambience: Stream
Water’s often called our most precious resource. There’s a limited amount available on the planet and we’re in the process of using it up. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Schoenholtz: It’s very difficult to find drinking water where you can walk up to a stream or a lake and drink out of it.

Stephen Schoenholtz is director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech.

Schoenholtz: There are places, remote areas and wildernesses. But for the most part most water is very much impacted by humans. The quality of it and also the quantity – where it is. We’re draining river systems for human uses, for agriculture and energy uses and urban uses. We’re also draining aquifers. An aquifer is groundwater – under the surface water that’s often pumped out for human use, particularly for agriculture. 70 to 80% of water use throughout the world is used for watering plants for agriculture. And lots of that is pumped out of groundwater.
There are areas where there is plenty of water through rainfall. That part of the water cycle provides adequate water to grow adequate food and crops, without having to utilize other water from other sources such as surface waters or ground waters.
However, in many areas there’s not enough rainfall to naturally produce high productivity crops and animal production, and therefore we need to supplement that with water that is available through surface water and groundwater. And that’s where we start to run into problems where we’re shifting the water cycle and potentially impacting – particular groundwater, where we’re draining it faster than it’s being replenished.

More about the future of water in our next program. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

We're Using it Up

In many areas, our water supply is being drained faster than it's replenished.
Air Date:05/03/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Water Using it Up

Ambience: Stream
Water's often called our most precious resource. There's a limited amount available on the planet and we're in the process of using it up. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Schoenholtz: It's very difficult to find drinking water where you can walk up to a stream or a lake and drink out of it.

Stephen Schoenholtz is director of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center at Virginia Tech.

Schoenholtz: There are places, remote areas and wildernesses. But for the most part most water is very much impacted by humans. The quality of it and also the quantity - where it is. We're draining river systems for human uses, for agriculture and energy uses and urban uses. We're also draining aquifers. An aquifer is groundwater - under the surface water that's often pumped out for human use, particularly for agriculture. 70 to 80% of water use throughout the world is used for watering plants for agriculture. And lots of that is pumped out of groundwater.
There are areas where there is plenty of water through rainfall. That part of the water cycle provides adequate water to grow adequate food and crops, without having to utilize other water from other sources such as surface waters or ground waters.
However, in many areas there's not enough rainfall to naturally produce high productivity crops and animal production, and therefore we need to supplement that with water that is available through surface water and groundwater. And that's where we start to run into problems where we're shifting the water cycle and potentially impacting - particular groundwater, where we're draining it faster than it's being replenished.

More about the future of water in our next program. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.