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Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity

Published On: 10/7/2010

A report by Vorosmarty and colleagues in the journal Nature summarizes threats to water security and freshwater biodiversity worldwide.

In a research report to the journal Nature, Vörösmarty and colleagues, which include multiple NABS members, (Nature, 30 September 2010, 467:555-561) describe how they have conducted a worldwide synthesis to quantify threats to human water security and to freshwater biodiversity. They show that nearly 80% of the world’s population is exposed to high threats of water security. Also, threats to water security and freshwater biodiversity occur in both rich and poor countries. However, while water security increases with affluence, biodiversity declines. The authors’ approach, or ‘cumulative threat framework’, offers a tool for prioritizing policy and management responses to the global freshwater crisis. In the same issue, NABS member, Margaret Palmer, summarizes and interprets this research in a Nature News & Views article entitled “Water resources: Beyond infrastructure” (Nature, 30 September 2010, 467:534-535).

These articles provide an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the global water crisis, which is the theme of the upcoming NABS annual meeting to be held from May 22-26, 2011 in Providence, RI. More information about the meeting can be found here.

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