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Water Resources

7. Conclusions on water resources

    The source document for this Digest states:

    Key messages:

    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 groundwater recharge.
    • 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 of ecosystems.
    • 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 sustainable 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 freshwater 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 & ©: UNESCO, The United Nations World Water Development Report 2 (2006)
    Section 2: Changing Natural Systems,
    Chapter 4 (UNESCO & WMO, with IAEA),
    Key messages, p.120
     www.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr2/pdf/wwdr2_ch_4.pdf


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