Why are we mostly water

Is the great drought looming?

Although more than 70 percent of our planet is covered with it, water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity for a growing world population. Because just three percent of these enormous amounts are potable fresh water, and again only a third of that is accessible for human consumption.

When wetlands dwindle, freshwater becomes scarce

That means: Over 780 million people have no access to clean fresh water. They often learn painfully that the loss of freshwater ecosystems with their filtering and cleaning effects endangers our most important food: drinking water.

The distance that people in third world countries have to cover in order to get water for everyday life is getting longer and longer. In the meantime, the water has been dug up in almost half of the world's wetlands - mostly for agriculture or new settlements.

The already started climate change with its longer and more frequent periods of drought intensifies this development. Elsewhere, increasingly violent floods are becoming an existential problem. This connection is particularly evident in regions like theAlps and theHimalayas Obviously, where glaciers are melting more and more, making the water supply more unpredictable. Over two thirds of the fresh water is stored in our glaciers. Rivers and lakes, on the other hand, only hold 0.3 percent of our reserves.

Rising populations and poor management of water supplies further exacerbate the situation. At the UN World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, an ambitious goal was set: by 2015, the number of people who do not have access to clean drinking water is to be halved.

Conflict area water supply

Every German consumes an average of 127 liters of drinking water per day, in Norway it is even 260 liters. Industrialized countries generally use ten times more water than developing countries. As early as the 1990s, it was predicted that future wars would no longer be fought over oil, but over water. In fact, dam construction projects or plans to privatize drinking water have already led to political tensions and even bloody disputes in some countries.

Irrigated agriculture

Fresh water is used and required in a wide variety of ways. It is not only an important food, but also important for industry as a raw material, cleaning agent or coolant. However, the largest consumer of water in the world is theAgriculture. Particularly water-intensive and therefore mostly artificially irrigated products are cotton, rice and sugar cane. Often kilometers of channels are created that lead the water to the fields. But before it reaches the fields, enormous amounts are lost through evaporation or poor technical systems.

The WWF does not only endeavor within the framework of itspolitical work to promote sustainable farming methods, but also carries out field projects in which water-saving irrigation and cultivation methods are tested.

The best example of the effects of water-wasting agriculture is the current situation inMediterranean area: empty reservoirs, dried up river beds and parched fields are signs of the unsuccessful agricultural policy in the region. Because instead of growing products that can cope with the climatic conditions, countries like Spain and Greece are increasingly turning to irrigated cultivation, for example of maize or cotton. This bad policy is often also carried throughEU subsidies promoted.

  • Rivers & Lakes

    Wetlands are essential for our drinking water supply Read more ...