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Global freshwater availability trends

5 Jul 2018

Freshwater availability is vital for the survival of any country. A lack of freshwater can hinder agricultural productivity and industrial and economic development. Scarce amounts of surface water have led to the overuse of groundwater, further straining water supplies and adding to environmental degradation. A study, based on data collected from the GRACE satellites, tracked the global trends of freshwater availability between 2002 and 2016.

An analysis of the satellite data identifies 19 hotspots that experienced dramatic water depletion over those 14 years. The analysis suggests that north-western China, northern and eastern India, North Africa and the northern Middle East are most likely to experience the greatest food and water threats by 2050. The study, however, also located regions where freshwater availability increased.

To overcome food and water security threats there is a need to improve the level of management and governance, from the local to the international level. The development of multilateral, co-operative management arrangements, practices and initiatives for shared transboundary water resources and a shift to green solutions, will be crucial to the future of water security within those regions.

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