Human water consumption intensifies hydrological drought worldwide

Yohihide Wada et al. published a paper in Environmental Research Letters showing that current water abstraction intensifies hydrological drought in many parts of the world. Results show that human water consumption alone increased global drought frequency by 27 %, where the intensification of drought frequency is most severe over Asia (35%), but also substantial over North America (25%) and Europe (20%). Irrigation is responsible for the intensification of hydrological droughts over the western and central US, southern Europe and Asia, whereas the impact of industrial and households’ consumption on the intensification is considerably larger over the eastern US and western and central Europe.

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Wada, Y., L.P.H. van Beek, Ni. Wanders and Marc Bierkens, 2013. Human water consumption intensifies hydrological drought worldwide. Environmental Research Letters 8, 034036 (14 pp).