Freshwater accounts for only 2.5% of the Earth’s water, and most of it is frozen in glaciers and ice caps. The remaining unfrozen freshwater is mainly found as groundwater, with only a small fraction present above ground or in the air. Our water resources face a host of serious threats, all of which are caused primarily by human activity. They include sedimentation, pollution, climate change, deforestation, landscape changes, and urban growth.
Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.
Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition.
By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.
Water is a finite resource having to serve exponentially more people and usages, and so ensuring everyone has access to a reliable supply is crucial to human survival and sustainable progress.
As water resources become more stretched, the energy and food sectors’ dependence on water, and the fact that all three underpin several of the Sustainable Development Goals, means that decision-makers in all three domains are now increasingly focusing on water resource management, ecosystem protection and water supply and sanitation as part of their policy and practice.
Source: Nature Magazine
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