3/14/2011

Infographic Shows World's Drinking Water Crisis

With all the ongoing discussions about global warming and the effects climate change is having on various regions around the world, it is no surprise that one of the greatest threats lingering is the shortage of fresh drinking water.  Many theorist believe that the problem may get so bad, it could be the cause of another horrific clash of world powers.  Every year Americans and millions around the world are paying more and more for water as our infrastructure rots and supplies shrink.

Image credit Nicolas T


Attached to this post is an infographic designed by Florian Krautli, for Visualizeing.org's World Water Day Challenge, a $5,000 prize offered by GE for the best visualization of the world's water woes. Krautli's inforgraphic has two basic components.  One is a bubble chart that shows water price increases and decreases in cities across the world.  Once you click the individual cities, you get a newsfeed filled with relevant news reports, and you also see the exact price of water, how it's risen in the last five years, and how that compares to population growth.

Chicago has seen a 54% rise in water costs, compared to a 2% rise in population; Washington D.C. has seen 44% rise; New York 46%; Philadelphia 19%; San Francisco 32%;Los Angeles 24%; and Phoenix 65%.  Below is the infographic for Philadelphia along with attached news articles related to water shortages and causes due to climate change, industry, and infrastructure.


An article in the Wall Street Journal highlights threats ranging from global warming to natural gas drilling that could threaten the water quality in the Delaware River.  The state of the river got in-depth attention last Thursday at a forum held by the federal Environment Protection Agency with meetings at six locations in all four states along the river.  Many of the presentations focused on the dangers of climate change, which could cause the salt line to shift upriver and threaten drinking water supplies in Philadelphia or bring additional water-borne diseases to the region.  Drilling for natural gas is said to be an even greater threat to the river.  The concern is that chemicals used to extract gas from deep underground in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," could contaminate the drinking water supply.