• Chapter

Peak water

In the past few years, discussions about the possibility of resource crises around water,
energy, and food have introduced new terms and concepts into the public debate.
Energy experts predict that the world is approaching, or has even passed, the point of
maximum production of oil, or “peak oil.” The implications of reaching this point for
energy policy are profound, for a range of economic, political, and environmental
reasons. More recently, there has been a growing discussion of whether we are also
approaching a comparable point of “peak water,” at which we run up against natural
limits to availability or human use of freshwater.


Palaniappan, M., & Gleick, P. H. (2009). Peak water. In P. H. Gleick (Ed.), The World's Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources Washington, DC: Island Press.