"The hydrological cycle is a fundamental natural process for keeping Earth’s operating system intact. Humanity and civilization are intimately dependent on the water cycle, but we have manipulated it vastly and destructively, to suit our needs.
We don’t yet know the full global implications of human modifications to the water cycle. We do know such changes could lead to huge shifts in Earth systems, threatening life as it exists. Researchers are asking where and how they can measure change to determine if the water cycle is being pushed to the breaking point.
Recent research has indicated that modifications to aspects of the water cycle are now causing Earth system destabilization at a scale that modern civilization might not have ever faced. That is already playing out in extreme weather events and long-term slow-onset climate alterations, with repercussions we don’t yet understand.
There are no easy or simple solutions. To increase our chances of remaining in a “safe living space,” we need to reverse damage to the global hydrological cycle with large-scale interventions, including reductions in water use, and reversals of deforestation, land degradation, soil erosion, air pollution and climate change."