Diminishing Depths

In the heart of Earth’s veins,
the reservoirs lie –
guardians of water
keeping watch
in the heat of the day
and the cool of the night.
As the world swells
with our needs,
these watered vaults
begin to sigh and weep,
their liquid wealth
draining from the ground
like sand
through the fingers of time.
In the glare of the sun
we watched the waters
fail to rise,
swelling numbers
simply scoring the
emptiness within.
Their sunken shelves
searching for meaning
on our ever-thirsty,
future shores.

An empty Lindley Wood Reservoir located in the Washburn valley north of Otley in Yorkshire, England (Image Credit: Tom Blackwell, via Flickr).

This poem is inspired by recent research, which has found that global reservoirs are becoming emptier.

Surface water reservoirs serve as crucial repositories for the world’s water supply. As the global population continues to expand and the climate undergoes significant changes, the reliance on these reservoirs intensifies. However, a comprehensive understanding of the quantity of water stored within these reservoirs on a global scale remains elusive. This lack of knowledge presents a significant challenge, as it is imperative to accurately gauge our water resources to effectively strategize for future demands and ensure the sustainable use of this vital resource.

Using satellite data, researchers in this new study have tracked changes in water storage in over 7,000 reservoirs worldwide from 1999 to 2018. They found that while the total amount of water stored has increased, mainly due to the building of new dams, the proportion of each reservoir’s capacity that is filled with water has decreased slightly. This decrease is more noticeable in the southern hemisphere, while the northern hemisphere has seen a slight increase. This suggests that simply building more reservoirs may not be a sustainable solution to meet our growing water needs, especially as climate change is expected to reduce the amount of water flowing into these reservoirs. This research serves as a significant alert, underscoring the imperative for the development and implementation of more sophisticated and effective water management strategies for the future.

1 thought on “Diminishing Depths”

  1. By far some of my favorite scientific poetic imagery in this one and a moody bit sensual with a hint of sad longing. Bravo


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