I'm trying to write an article where I am talking about a phenomenon that has been creeping in the background, and has now reached epic proportions that deserves immediate attention. For example, I'd like a positive word (so not "a mounting problem") for saying this concisely: We must start deploying efficient rainwater harvesting solutions now, given the increasing degree of water scarcity. I'm pretty sure there's a word for it, but I couldn't find it using a thesaurus. A concise phrase would be the next best thing.

closed as off-topic by Nigel J, Hellion, Skooba, MetaEd Dec 19 '17 at 22:58

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  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – Nigel J, Hellion, Skooba, MetaEd
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    As with all one-word requests, a sample sentence is needed which demonstrates how your word would be used in context. – Nigel J Dec 19 '17 at 13:04
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    ‘Increasing degree of scarcity’ should definitely be avoided unless the tone in general is humorous. It makes the reader do an unnecessary semantic double-take. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 19 '17 at 20:39
  • Avoid posting word or phrase requests without: (i) your criteria for accepting answers, including connotation, register, and part of speech; (ii) exact context – generally we want the sentence you’re writing; and (iii) details of research you’ve already done (trips to the thesaurus, etc.) including solutions you’ve already rejected, and why. See: “Single word requests, crosswords, and the fight against mediocrity – ELU Meta”; “Real Questions Have Answers – SE Blog”. – MetaEd Dec 19 '17 at 22:58
  • @NigelJ I have provided an example sentence. Does that not suffice? I held back from putting the actual sentence, as the article is a neuroscience paper with quite a few distracting academic terms. – Sahil M Dec 20 '17 at 12:42
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I agree. Thank you for the correction. – Sahil M Dec 20 '17 at 12:43

You could use the scientific term “Critical point” in a literary way to describe the moments in which a paradigm shift or significant change occurs.

critical point noun/

Physics The point at which a substance in one phase, as the liquid, has the same density, pressure, and temperature as in another phase, as the gaseous.


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    ... And if you say "has reached a critical point," it also implies prior escalation over time. – Misha R Dec 21 '17 at 16:37

You might say that water scarcity has crossed a threshold:

3b : a level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not
from m-w.com

Alternatively, water scarcity may be approaching, or may have already reached or crossed a tipping point:

: the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place
also from m-w.com


Come to a head.

From Cambridge University Press Dictionary: Reach a point where some strong action must be taken.


Endemic may apply in your example. "We must start deploying efficient rainwater harvesting solutions now, given the endemic drought.


tipping point or boiling point

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    These suggestions are a good beginning but really need definitions and cited sources to be a complete answer. – Kristina Lopez Dec 19 '17 at 23:32

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