Hotspots of peatland-derived potable water use identified by global analysis

Xu, J. , Morris, P. J., Liu, J. and Holden, J. (2018) Hotspots of peatland-derived potable water use identified by global analysis. Nature Sustainability, 1(5), pp. 246-253. (doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0064-6)

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Abstract

Peatlands cover approximately 2.84% of the Earth’s land surface and store around 10% of all non-glacial freshwater. However, the contribution of peatlands to global potable water resources is unclear because most peatlands are remote from major population centres, and until now no systematic, global assessment of peatland water resources has been undertaken. Here we analyse global peatland, population and hydrometric datasets to identify hotspots where peatlands are crucial for water supply, and show that these peat-rich catchments deliver water to 71.4 million people. Water-supply peatlands cover just 0.0015% of the global land surface, yet provide 3.83% of all potable water stored in reservoirs. Approximately 85% of all drinking water delivered directly from peatlands is consumed in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, meaning that peatlands play crucial roles in the water security of these nations. Globally, only 28% of water-supply peatlands are pristine or protected, highlighting the urgent need for responsible stewardship. Our findings provide global evidence for the often assumed role of peatlands in sustainable water resource provision and for informing peatland water-resource protection policies.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Xu, Dr Jiren
Authors: Xu, J., Morris, P. J., Liu, J., and Holden, J.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Nature Sustainability
Publisher:Nature Research
ISSN:2398-9629
ISSN (Online):2398-9629
Published Online:15 May 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Springer Nature
First Published:First published in Nature Sustainability 1(5): 246-253
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
Data DOI:10.5518/365

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