Archive for Facts and figures

Pitcher Plants Entice Ants With a Water Slide of Death

In Venezuela, Heliamphora nutans a type of carnivorous pitcher plant that grows in swampy locales beckons ants with a water slide of doom. The specie’s specially adapted, wettable hairs counter the sticky pads and little claws on insect feet and especially seem to target ants, Wired reports.

Ants investigate the deadly pitcher plant

Compared to other carnivorous plants that have capture rates of about 29 percent for ants, researchers found, the wet hairs on this pitcher plant trap 88 percent of ants that encounter the deadly trap. While other plants tend to repel water, H. nutans‘ hairs actually attract tiny droplets. When ants venture onto the slippery surface, they aquaplane into the plant’s bowl. Read more

Water facts

water_2012More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.3 Read more

The impact of climate change

RTEmagicC_facts_2degrees_01The IPCC predicts with high confidence that water stress will increase in central and southern Europe, and that by the 2070s, the number of people affected will rise from 28 million to 44 million. Summer flows are likely to drop by up to 80% in southern Europe and some parts of central and Eastern Europe. Europe’s hydropower potential is expected to drop by an average of 6%, but rise by 20–50% around the Mediterranean by 2070 (Alcamo et al., 2007).

The cost of adapting to the impacts of a 2°C rise in global average temperature could range from US$70 to $100 billion per year between 2020 and 2050 (World Bank, 2010). Of this cost, between US$13.7 billion (drier scenario) and $19.2 billion (wetter scenario) will be related to water, predominantly through water supply and flood management. Read more

A resource without borders

Water is not confined to political borders. An estimated 148 states have international basins within their territory (OSU, n.d., 2008 data), and 21 countries lie entirely within them (OSU, n.d, 2002 data).

RTEmagicC_facts_basinsbycontThere are 276 transboundary river basins in the world (64 transboundary river basins in Africa, 60 in Asia, 68 in Europe, 46 in North America and 38 in South America).

185 out of the 276 transboundary river basins, about two-thirds, are shared by two countries. 256 out of 276 are shared by 2, 3 or 4 countries (92,7%), and 20 out of 276 are shared by 5 or more countries (7,2%), the maximum being 18 countries sharing a same transboundary river basin (Danube).

46% of the globe’s (terrestrial) surface is covered by transboundary river basins.

148 countries include territory within one or more transboundary river basins. 39 countries have more than 90% of their territory within one or more transboundary river basins, and 21 lie entirely within one or more of these watersheds. Read more

An increasing demand

85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet.

RTEmagicC_facts_scarcitymap783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation.

6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

Various estimates indicate that, based on business as usual, ~3.5 planets Earth would be needed to sustain a global population achieving the current lifestyle of the average European or North American.

Global population growth projections of 2–3 billion people over the next 40 years, combined with changing diets, result in a predicted increase in food demand of 70% by 2050. Read more