How can water as a resource, in fact become a scarce (non-renewable) resource, and not be so ‘renewable’ as we might think when we think of the ‘renewable’ water cycle?
Water is not replenished like most renewable resources and instead—reused. If we were constantly losing water, then the speed at which water forms wouldn't be very sustainable, and water would then be considered non-renewable.
Water has been considered an exploitable and renewable resource from the beginning of civilization, but we have been creating limits to the water supply and reducing the natural renewal processes for even longer. We are now facing growing shortages of water for drinking, crop irrigation and sanitation, such that hundreds of millions of people are constrained in non-essential water uses like bathing and landscaping.
The obvious mechanism of water recycling is rain. Places which are habitable for hunter-gatherers are where monthly rain falls throughout the seasons are enough to drink, wash, and grow plants for food. Humans have been interfering with rain for 40,000 years, and this trend is now rapidly accelerating, with areas of continuing drought spreading around the world.
The primary regulation of rainfall is forests. There is a massive flow of water up into the atmosphere from evaporation from rivers, lakes, moist soil and plant metabolism, which supplies the moisture, but forests make rain by a combination of transpiration, which raises the humidity; reducing the temperature by both evaporation and converting solar energy to chemical energy instead of heat; and emitting microscopic organic particles which nucleate droplets to start rain storms. This is the first way that humans disrupted the renewal of water. Humans annihilated half of all forests, 3 trillion trees, for firewood, cropland, grazing land, buildings and roads.
This has caused permanent droughts in many places where civilization started - North and South Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, and the US Southwest. It even caused permanent drought in Australia when humans arriving with stone tipped weapons and fire slashed and burned the great central swamp and extincted the man-eating marsupial cats and bear.
Summary why water is becoming non-renewable
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