Global Water Expert To Discuss Conservation, Warnings


Worries about the global supply of fresh water will be spelled out Tuesday at a Wisconsin conference.

More than seven billion people around the globe now count on having an adequate supply of clean water. But Sandra Postel of the National Geographic Society says many areas now classify as ‘water stressed,’ where human demands are bumping up against the renewable water supply. Postel says people in Wisconsin can try to buy food grown in areas that are not over-pumping water.

“All the products that we buy – all the food we eat – takes water to make, so consumer choices that we make every day, impact water systems, river basins, ground water aquifers, literally all over the world.”

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Postel says half of the average American citizen’s water footprint is related to his or her diet, especially if a person eats a lot of grain-fed beef. In Milwaukee, a number of companies are trying to work together to sell purification and treatment technologies to water-stressed regions. Postel says private-sector investment in developing drip irrigation and water recycling is needed, “within the context of making sure we secure water as the basis of life and the ecosystem’s needs for water, as we go about this.”

Postel also says many U.S. communities need to do better at water conservation and protection. Postel will speak in Madison Tuesday evening as part of an event coordinated by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters.