More than half the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs drying up, study finds

·1-min read
© Luca Bruno, AP

More than half of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs are dwindling and placing humanity’s future water security at risk, with climate change and unsustainable consumption the main culprits, a study said Thursday.

“Lakes are in trouble globally, and it has implications far and wide,” Balaji Rajagopalan, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-author of the paper, which appeared in Science, told AFP.

“It really caught our attention that 25 percent of the world’s population is living in a lake basin that is on a declining trend,” he continued, meaning some two billion people are impacted by the findings.

Unlike rivers, which have tended to hog scientific attention, lakes aren’t well monitored, despite their critical importance for water security, said Rajagopalan.

But high profile environmental disasters in large water bodies like the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea, signaled to researchers a wider crisis.

To study the question systematically, the team, which included scientists from the United States, France, and Saudi Arabia, looked at Earth’s biggest 1,972 lakes and reservoirs, using observations from satellites from 1992-2020.

For natural lakes, much of the net loss was attributed to climate warming as well as human water consumption.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Rainfall improves France's groundwater levels, but many areas still in red
Next five years will be hottest ever, likely to exceed 1.5C target, UN warns
‘The country is becoming a desert’: Drought-struck Spain is running out of water