Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Mapping water stress risk

Bonnie Berkowitz and Adrian Blanco from The Washington Post map the places in the U.S. that are at risk of draining their water supplies. The piece also contains a scatter plot comparing water stress risk to water consumption state by state, and a beeswarm plot of country risks. Here's an explanation of the water stress scale:
The WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas researchers used hydrological models and more than 50 years of data to estimate the typical water supply of 189 countries compared to their demand. The result was a scale of “water stress” — how close a country comes to draining its annual water stores in a typical year.
Living in Florida, I found this particularly worrying:
Florida demonstrates that a state surrounded by seas and perforated by lakes and rivers can still have a water problem. Desalinization of saltwater is expensive and often not practical. The enormous Floridan aquifer provides most of the area’s freshwater, but demand is high. Florida uses the fourth-most water of any state.