3833 Peak Water, Virtual Water, Real Water: Exploring the Connections

Friday, February 18, 2011: 4:00 PM
140B (Washington Convention Center )
Peter Gleick , Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, CA
In recent years, more sophisticated approaches to analyzing water-resource problems and solutions have begun to be developed, expanding the range of tools available from the limited set traditionally applied in the 20th century. While older tools focused on identifying local water resource availability (“supply”) and needs (“demand”), these new approaches permit different kinds of studies to be done and new, more sustainable water planning and management to be implemented. Because freshwater sciences are complex, and because different tools are applicable for different purposes, no standards or single set of approaches have been universally adopted. Nevertheless, some of the new concepts are proving to be powerful for identifying new kinds of analysis and new solutions. This talk will explore a few of these concepts in the context of several case studies from around the world. In particular, the concepts of the “soft path for water;” “peak water” (including peak “renewable,” “non-renewable,” and “ecological” water); virtual water; water footprinting; and “real” versus “paper” water will be described with reference to ongoing initiatives for improving water efficiency, developing standards for responsible business engagement, and advances in monitoring and analyzing water use by different economic sectors. Problems with data and inconsistencies among definitions and the application of these concepts will also be discussed.
<< Previous Presentation | Next Presentation