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Global water dynamics: issues for the 21st century.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research
Publication Date
Volume
45
Issue
8
Pages
53–64
Identifiers
PMID: 12019833
Source
Medline

Abstract

The WorldWater system dynamics model has been developed for modeling the global world water balance and capturing the dynamic character of the main variables affecting water availability and use in the future. Despite not being a novel approach, system dynamics offers a new way of addressing complex systems. WorldWater simulations are clearly demonstrating the strong feedback relation between water availability and different aspects of world development. Results of numerous simulations are contradictory to the assumption made by many global modelers that water is not an issue on the global scale. Two major observations can be made from early simulations: (a) the use of clean water for dilution and transport of wastewater, if not dealt with in other ways, imposes a major stress on the global world water balance; and (b) water use by different sectors is demonstrating quite different dynamics than predicted by classical forecasting tools and other water-models. Inherent linkages between water quantity and quality sectors with food, industry, persistent pollution, technology, and non-renewable resources sectors of the model create shoot and collapse behavior in water use dynamics. This paper discusses a number of different water-related scenarios and their implications on the global water balance. In particular, two extreme scenarios (business as usual - named "Chaos", and unlimited desalination - named "Ocean") are presented in the paper. Based on the conclusions derived from these two extreme cases a set of more moderate and realistic scenarios (named "Conservation") is proposed and their consequences on the global water balance are evaluated.

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