Similar to oil and other key natural resources that are mined and consumed, water is subject to the same exponential trends. Both surface supply and underground fossil stores of clean water are depleting at alarming rates, and the energy & economic costs of extraction are swiftly increasing. Water is our most precious natural resouce (well, perhaps after oxygen). Advances in irrigation in the past century ushered in tremendous prosperity (the "green revolution"), particularly in food production, power generation, and a dramatic increase in the supportable populations for vast regions of land. If the water supply in future years dwindles to less than today's, those societal gains are going to have to retreat to some extent.
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