The total water resources of the planet, both from the current water cycle and from the water reserves stored in the ground or frozen in the ice sheets, will be summarized. The concepts of “green water”, representing water stored in the upper soil, available for plant uptake, and of “blue water” which flows in rivers and aquifers, will be defined, together with “artificial water” produced by seawater desalinization, and “virtual water” as imported or exported water through food trade. The current water consumption and origin will be estimated, and the effect of climate change and of demographic growth on water needs will be examined. As about 95% of our water consumption is used for producing the food we eat, the water needs are closely related to the food production scenario and to hunger and food crises. Will there be enough water left at the end of this century to feed the planet? That is the question!
Ghislain de Marsily, Emeritus Professor at University Paris VI, France, is a member of the French Academy of Sciences and Chair of the “Environment-Water-Food” Panel. He is also a member of the French Academy of Technologies, of the French Academy of Agriculture, a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering, of the Academia Europaea, of the Water Academy. He graduated as a mining engineer, worked 3 years in industry in civil engineering and well drilling, before becoming Research Assistant and Professor of Hydrogeology at the Paris School of Mines, and later Professor of Applied Geology at University Paris VI. His research interests include groundwater resources; aquifer management and protection with modelling tools; waste disposal (including nuclear waste); global watershed management including surface water quality, ecosystem functioning, human impact, climate change; global water resources and sustainable development including water and food.
The Schultz Oration honours the late Donald Schultz (1910-1987) – optical physicist, optometrist, inventor and benefactor. It recognises the contribution Donald Schultz made to Flinders University through the Schultz Bequest for the study and research into the environment and ecology of South Australia. More information can be found in the profile on Donald Herbert Schultz written by Rod D. Watkins in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Optometry (Clin Exp Optom 2004; 87: 3: 187–190) which can be downloaded by clicking here