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Earth’s water cycle being bent past breaking point, warns conservationists

Recent research has indicated that modifications to aspects of the water cycle are now causing Earth system destabilisation at a scale that modern civilisation might not have ever faced.

Water seems deceptively simple and is easy to take for granted. It has no color, taste or smell and is one of the most plentiful chemical compounds on Earth. Recycled endlessly through the biosphere in its various forms, it is fundamental to keeping our planet’s operating system intact, and has done so for millions of years.

Water is life. Earth’s oceans are where life likely originated, and freshwater is essential for plants and animals to persist and thrive. It is basic to all human development. But as our 21st-century world gallops ahead, we are vastly manipulating the water cycle at an unprecedented rate and scale to meet the ever-growing needs of an exploding population.

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