First of all some facts:
- Global water: 97% seawater, 3% freshwater. Of the freshwater 87 % not accessible, 13 % accessible (0.4% of global water)
- Today more than 2 billion people are affected by water shortages in over 40 countries
- 263 river basins are shared by two or more nations
- 2 million tons per day of human waste are deposited in water courses
- Half the population of the developing world are exposed to polluted sources of water that increase disease incidence
- 90% of natural disasters in the 1990s were water related
- The increase in numbers of the world’s population from 6 billion to 9 billion will be the main driver of water resources management for the next 50 years
Water is crucial for human survival, health and dignity and a fundamental resource for human development. The world’s freshwater resources are under increasing pressure. Growth in population, increased economic activity and improved standards of living lead to increased competition for, and conflicts over, the limited freshwater resource. A combination of social inequity and economic marginalization forces people living in extreme poverty to overexploit soil and forestry resources, with damaging impacts on water resources.
- Water resources are increasingly under pressure from population growth, economic activity and intensifying competition for the water among users.
- Water withdrawals have increased more than twice as fast as population growth and currently one third of the world's population live in countries that experience medium to high water stress.
- Pollution is further enhancing water scarcity by reducing water usability downstream.
- Current concerns about climate variability and climate change demand improved management of water resources to cope with more intense floods and droughts.