About one third of the world's population lives in countries suffering from moderate to high water stress - where water consumption is more than 10 per cent of renewable freshwater resources.

  1. Access to water is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for Africa 's sustainable development.
    Global warming, growing populations and changes in land use will continue to make the situation worse.

    Africa's renewable water resources average 4050 km3/year, providing in the year 2000 an average of about 5000 m3 per capita/year, which is significantly less than the world average of 7000 m3 per capita/year

    Graphic: UNEP/GRID-Arendal

  1. Overexploitation and pollution of water, and degradation of aquatic ecosystems directly affect human well-being.
    An estimated 2.6 billion people are without improved sanitation facilities. And if the 1990-2002 trend holds, the world will miss the sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals by half a billion people (WHO and UNICEF 2004).

    Freshwater management
    When a resource is scarce, good management is all the more important.
    Integrated water resources management is the practice of making decisions and taking actions while considering multiple viewpoints of how water should be managed. It is a systematic process for the sustainable development, allocation and monitoring of water resource use in the context of social, economic and environmental objectives.


    Freshwater basics:

    Graphic: UNEP/GRID-Arendal: Vital Climate Graphics

  1. Lake Chad almost gone.
    Lake Chad has been shrinking and expanding at more or less regular intervals over the millennia, depending on changes in precipitation over North West Africa. This time, it does not seem to expand again due to extensive irrigation in the rain catchment areas. The rivers to Lake Chad are drying out.
    Graphic: UNEP/GRID-Arendal