Study: Half of Largest Lakes and Reservoirs Losing Water


A recent study has found that over half of the world’s largest lakes and reservoirs have decreased in size since the early 1990s, primarily due to climate change and unsustainable human use. The study, conducted by an international team of researchers, revealed that important freshwater sources such as the Caspian Sea and Lake Titicaca have lost water at a rate of approximately 22 gigatonnes per year for almost three decades. This is equivalent to 17 times the volume of the largest reservoir in the United States. The report, published in the journal Science, also highlighted that natural lakes and dams store 87% of the Earth’s freshwater, despite covering only 3% of the planet’s surface. The decline in natural lakes was driven by climate warming and human consumption, with warming being the larger share of that. Even humid regions experienced significant water loss due to unsustainable human use, changes in rainfall and run-off, sedimentation, and rising temperatures. The study emphasizes the need to prevent global warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid catastrophic consequences of climate change.