7. Conclusions on water resources
The source document for this Digest states:
Our water resources, irregularly distributed in space and time, are under pressure due to major population change and increased demand. Access to reliable data on the availability, quality and quantity of water, and its variability, form the necessary foundation for sound management of water resources. The different options for augmentation expand the boundaries of the water resource in a conventional sense, helping to match demand and supply. All components of the hydrological cycle, and the influence of human activities on it, need to be understood and quantified to efficiently and sustainably develop and protect our water resources.
- Climate change
is having a significant impact on weather patterns,
precipitation and the hydrological cycle, affecting
surface water availability, as well as soil moisture and
- The growing uncertainty of surface water
availability and increasing levels of water pollution
and water diversions threaten to disrupt social and
economic development in many areas as well as the health
- Groundwater resources can, in many instances,
supplement surface water, particularly as a source of
drinking water. However, in many cases, these
aquifers are being
tapped at an unsustainable rate or affected by
pollution. More attention should be paid to
management of non-renewable groundwater.
- Many traditional practices are being refined (e.g.
rainwater harvesting), while more recent advances (e.g.
artificial recharge, desalination and water reuse) are
being developed further. More support needs to be given
to policy options, such as demand management, which
stress more efficient use of water resources, as well as
to technical solutions on the supply side.
- The projected increased variability in the
availability and distribution of
resources demands political commitment to supporting and
advancing technology for the collection and analysis of
hydrological data. More up-to-date information will
enable policy-makers to make better informed decisions
regarding water resources management.
Source & ©:
The United Nations World Water Development Report 2 (2006)
Section 2: Changing Natural Systems,
Chapter 4 (UNESCO
& WMO, with IAEA),
Key messages, p.120