Water scarcity: forecasting the future
Headlines warn that thirst could soon choke northern China and lead the Middle East into further catastrophe. But a growing number of scientists say there’s already a crisis — only it’s not just water that’s missing. It’s information.
Kathryn Brown reports on the plight of developing countries facing water shortages, and how history has shown that a scarcity of data can hamper forecasts of drought.
But accurate water estimates require time-consuming data collection — unlikely to be a priority for developing countries. Moreover, international bodies such as the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations usually have no way to verify national statistics.Link to Science feature article
Reference: Science 297, 926 (2002)