Water Scarcity: From Ancient to Modern Times and the Future, Volume II

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Scarcity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 June 2024 | Viewed by 4781

Special Issue Editors

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many people still hold stubbornly to the belief that nature’s resources are unbounded and that the world’s ecosystems are merely too large to be significantly impacted by the mere actions of humans. However, environmental catastrophes (e.g., extended droughts) have occurred throughout human history, even causing the collapse of whole civilizations (e.g., Easter Island, Mayas, Sumerians, Nazca, Ancient Megafauna of Australia, Anasazi, and probably Minoans). Indeed, there are current estimates that a quarter of the world’s population or a third of the population in developing countries live in areas suffering from severe water scarcity. A particular concern is the declining water tables in the arid and semiarid regions of Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean basin.

Based on the facts that fresh water supplies on Earth will remain the same, they are unevenly distributed, and, as urbanization is increasing at high rates worldwide, water availability (in m3/inh.), especially in urban areas, will become a critical issue in future megacities. At the same time, it should be considered that transporting surface water over long distances from in-land to coastal areas, treating it, using it for potable purposes, and then retreating and discharging it back into the sea is not a sustainable manner of water management. Similarly, the further overexploitation of groundwater seriously impacts the environment (e.g., sea level rise). Finally, climate fluctuations may adversely affect water resources worldwide through warming, shifts in precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events (droughts, heat waves, floods). In such cases,  expanding the reuse of marginal waters should be implemented—particularly in coastal urban areas, to produce water for all uses. Additionally, this practice complies with the circular economy concept and can help us cope with climate change and/or variability. However, expanding water reuse is not straightforward, as several public health and environmental issues still need to be addressed. Of particular importance are the issues arising from the spread of specific emerging and/or other pollutants, such as disinfection byproducts and pharmaceuticals, as well as antimicrobial resistance, which can harm the environmental quality and threaten food safety. These factors are highly related to economic balance and public acceptability. It is apparent that we need advances in wastewater treatment and regulatory frameworks toward a more sophisticated and economically viable wastewater reuse management.

This Special Issue of Water entitled “Water Scarcity: From Ancient to Modern Times and the Future” aims to address all the above aspects by seeking relevant research and review manuscripts. More analytically, the scope of this SI could include:

  • The collapse of old civilizations: The role of drought;
  • Urbanization and water supply;
  • The history of water science and technology;
  • Climate change variability and water quality and supply;
  • Water supply under water scarcity;
  • Irrigation and drainage under water scarcity;
  • Water use efficiency issues;
  • Water scarcity and land use: environmental and climate impacts;
  • Water scarcity, food production, and economy impacts;
  • Water scarcity and energy;
  • Water scarcity and soil and water resources management;
  • Water reuse;
  • The use of marginal waters;
  • Water reuse planning, policy, monitoring requirements, and standards/criteria;
  • Water supply and wastewater treatment and reuse in future cities;
  • Water scarcity, water reuse, and circular economy;
  • Water and wastewater policies.

Dr. Vasileios Tzanakakis
Prof. Dr. Giovanni De Feo
Dr. Andreas Angelakis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water supply
  • water scarcity
  • water reuse
  • water policy
  • water management

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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28 pages, 8750 KiB  
Article
A Water Shortage Risk Assessment Model Based on Kernel Density Estimation and Copulas
by Tanghui Qian, Zhengtao Shi, Shixiang Gu, Wenfei Xi, Jing Chen, Jinming Chen, Shihan Bai and Lei Wu
Water 2024, 16(11), 1465; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16111465 - 21 May 2024
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Abstract
Accurate assessment and prediction of water shortage risk are essential prerequisites for the rational allocation and risk management of water resources. However, previous water shortage risk assessment models based on copulas have strict requirements for data distribution, making them unsuitable for extreme conditions [...] Read more.
Accurate assessment and prediction of water shortage risk are essential prerequisites for the rational allocation and risk management of water resources. However, previous water shortage risk assessment models based on copulas have strict requirements for data distribution, making them unsuitable for extreme conditions such as insufficient data volume and indeterminate distribution shapes. These limitations restrict the applicability of the models and result in lower evaluation accuracy. To address these issues, this paper proposes a water shortage risk assessment model based on kernel density estimation (KDE) and copula functions. This approach not only enhances the robustness and stability of the model but also improves its prediction accuracy. The methodology involves initially utilizing kernel density estimation to quantify the random uncertainties in water supply and demand based on historical statistical data, thereby calculating their respective marginal probability distributions. Subsequently, copula functions are employed to quantify the coupled interdependence between water supply and demand based on these marginal probability distributions, thereby computing the joint probability distribution. Ultimately, the water shortage risk is evaluated based on potential loss rates and occurrence probabilities. This proposed model is applied to assess the water shortage risk of the Yuxi water receiving area in the Central Yunnan Water Diversion Project, and compared with existing models through experimental contrasts. The experimental results demonstrate that the model exhibits evident advantages in terms of robustness, stability, and evaluation accuracy, with a rejection rate of 0 for the null hypothesis of edge probability fitting and a smaller deviation in joint probability fitting compared to the most outstanding model in the field. These findings indicate that the model presented in this paper is capable of adapting to non-ideal scenarios and extreme climatic conditions for water shortage risk assessment, providing reliable prediction outcomes even under extreme circumstances. Therefore, it can serve as a valuable reference and source of inspiration for related engineering applications and technical research. Full article
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21 pages, 2354 KiB  
Article
Are Non-Conventional Water Resources the Solution for the Structural Water Deficit in Mediterranean Agriculture? The Case of the Segura River Basin in Spain
by Almudena Gómez-Ramos, Irene Blanco-Gutiérrez, Mario Ballesteros-Olza and Paloma Esteve
Water 2024, 16(7), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16070929 - 22 Mar 2024
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Abstract
The water sustainability of the Segura River Basin (SRB), located in southeastern Spain, is being challenged as conventional available water sources fall short of meeting the authorised demands of the basin. In recent years, non-conventional water (NCW), such as desalinated and reclaimed water, [...] Read more.
The water sustainability of the Segura River Basin (SRB), located in southeastern Spain, is being challenged as conventional available water sources fall short of meeting the authorised demands of the basin. In recent years, non-conventional water (NCW), such as desalinated and reclaimed water, has become part of the resource pool. However, it has not yet become crucial for irrigation water supply due to its relatively high cost and lower quality compared to conventional water. The new political framework in Spain, developed in the context of ecological transition, marks a notable shift for non-conventional water as a strategic resource for agriculture. This study examines the drivers and barriers influencing its acceptance through an analysis of farmers’ perceptions, conducted through interviews with twelve irrigation communities’ (ICs) representatives of the basin. Discriminant analyses of the data show that the farmers’ experience, along with factors pertaining to production, storage, and transportation costs, determines the acceptance and use of NCW. Full article
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28 pages, 789 KiB  
Systematic Review
Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Future Cities: A Systematic Literature Review
by Jorge Alejandro Silva
Water 2023, 15(17), 3064; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15173064 - 27 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2828
Abstract
Due to climate emergencies, water stress, and fast-growing populations, many cities around the world are adopting wastewater reclamation and reuse to improve the water supply for their residents. The purpose of the paper was to investigate the effectiveness of expanding wastewater reclamation and [...] Read more.
Due to climate emergencies, water stress, and fast-growing populations, many cities around the world are adopting wastewater reclamation and reuse to improve the water supply for their residents. The purpose of the paper was to investigate the effectiveness of expanding wastewater reclamation and reuse as a solution to water supply challenges for future cities. It used a systematic review of the literature to evaluate and synthesize the available evidence in support of wastewater reclamation and reuse for future cities. A model known as PRISMA was used to identify the most appropriate articles for inclusion in the study. Out of the 105 studies, a total of 46 articles were selected for analysis based on their relevance, content validity, and strength of evidence. The findings indicate that wastewater reclamation and reuse create additional sources of water for both domestic and industrial use, reducing the overall pressure on the natural water sources. Wastewater reclamation and reuse effectively increase water supply for future cities while minimizing pressure on natural resources and promoting environmental sustainability. Full article
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