Stewardship Resource

Vital Water Graphics: An Overview of the World's Fresh and Marine Water Resources

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  • Author: United Nations Environment Programme
  • Updated: 02/22/2008
  • Copyright: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Vital Water Graphics focuses on the critical issues of water quantity, quality and availability.

The stewardship of water is a huge challenge for the future of the world.  It is the resource which most threatens the well-being of life.  The United Nations is focusing on this issue. 

This is a site which has a lot of information.  It can serve as a resource for a stewardship of water emphasis.

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"Highlights from assessment activities over the past two decades, which are used to establish present and future water trends, reveal that:

1.  "Freshwater resources are unevenly distributed, with much of the water located far from human populations. Many of the world's largest river basins run through thinly populated regions. There are an estimated 263 major international river basins in the world, covering ~231 059 898 km2 or 45.3% of the Earth's land surface area (excluding Antarctica).

2.  "Groundwater represents about 90% of the world's readily available freshwater resources, and some 1.5 billion people depend upon groundwater for their drinking water.

3.  "Agricultural water use accounts for about 75% of total global consumption, mainly through crop irrigation, while industrial use accounts for about 20%, and the remaining 5% is used for domestic purposes.

4.  "It is estimated that two out of every three people will live in water-stressed areas by the year 2025. In Africa alone, it is estimated that 25 countries will be experiencing water stress (below 1,700 m3 per capita per year) by 2025. Today, 450 million people in 29 countries suffer from water shortages.

5. "Clean water supplies and sanitation remain major problems in many parts of the world, with 20% of the global population lacking access to safe drinking water. Water-borne diseases from fecal pollution of surface waters continue to be a major cause of illness in developing countries. Polluted water is estimated to affect the health of 1.2 billion people, and contributes to the death of 15 million children annually.

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