According to a new study, more than half of the world’s greatest lakes and reservoirs are disappearing, threatening humanity’s future water security, with climate change and unsustainable usage to blame.
“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.
Lakes, unlike rivers, have received little scientific study, despite their crucial role for water security, according to Rajagopalan.
However, high-profile environmental disasters in big bodies of water such as the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea suggested to experts a broader crisis.
To investigate the subject thoroughly, the team, which comprised experts from the United States, France, and Saudi Arabia, examined Earth’s largest 1,972 lakes and reservoirs using satellite images from 1992 to 2020.
They concentrated on larger bodies of freshwater due to the greater accuracy of satellites at a wider scale, as well as their value to humans and wildlife.