Human domination of the global water cycle absent from depictions and perceptions

  • Created a single water cycle diagram and compared with 464 WCDs from around the world
  • Although human freshwater appropriation now equals half of global river discharge, only 15% of the WCDs depicted human interaction with water
  • Almost none (2%) showed water pollution or climate change
  • Nearly all (95%) depict a single water catchment
  • These inaccuracies are reflected in specific problems with water (mis)management; trace back to lack of understanding by researchers, policy makers and the public
  • Accurately depicting water cycles will not solve the global water crisis, but “is an important step towards equitable water governance, sustainable development and planetary thinking in the Anthropocene”

  • Questions
    • large and small water cycles: are these depicted in the new proposed WCD?
    • what role of forests and vegetation and their interactions with atmosphere?
    • how do we replace global existing WCDs with an updated version?

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