A new UN report highlights the threats to groundwater, a critical source of fresh water for most of the world. The following article was published in the May-June 2022 edition of NewsNotes.
In March, coinciding with World Water Day, UN Water and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published the 2022 edition of the World Water Development Report, titled “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible.” The report explains that 99% of the world’s running water, on which all life depends, is groundwater, found mainly in aquifers, but pollution and overuse are threatening this essential resource.
“Groundwater is a critical natural resource, invisible but indispensable for life on our planet,” said Audrey Azoulay, chief of UNESCO, in the forward for the report. “Yet more and more aquifers are being polluted, overexploited, and dried up by humans, sometimes with irreversible consequences… When it comes to groundwater, many challenges and opportunities lie ahead.”
This report is the ninth annual report issued by UN Water and will provide the basis for a summit which will take place in Paris in December 2022 in order to accelerate action for sustainable use and protection of groundwater. The Groundwater Summit intends to bring together the outcomes of several water-related events into a unified “groundwater message” for the UN Water Conference in March 2023, which will be the midterm review of the international decade of action on water for sustainable development.
The report is clear on the centrality of groundwater for life on Earth. Groundwater accounts for approximately 99% of all liquid freshwater. It provides half of the volume withdrawn for domestic use around the world and about a quarter of water drawn for irrigation. It is critical for the fight against poverty, for food and water security, for development, and for resilience against climate change.
“The development, management and governance of groundwater offers many opportunities but also many challenges, and unlocking the full potential of groundwater will require strong and concerted efforts to manage and use it sustainably,” the report states. Read the report here: https://bit.ly/3ko3tI8
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