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Collection: Vital Water Graphics

Vital Water GraphicsVital Water Graphics
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been at the forefront of assessing and monitoring global water resources and presenting information on their use and management for 30 years. UNEP has compiled this report in order to provide an easily accessible resource on the state of the world's waters. The goal of this publication is to produce a clear overview, through a set of graphics, maps and other illustrations, of the state of the world's fresh and marine waters. It also illustrates the causes, effects, trends and threats facing our water sources, with examples of areas of major concern and future scenarios for the use and management of fresh, coastal and marine waters.
Urban and rural water supply and sanitation Urban and rural water supply and sanitation
The graphic shows the amount of water supply versus sanitation coverage between the world and developing nations in percentage. It shows statistics from 1990 and 2000, as well as comparing rural to urban.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Freshwater availability: groundwater and river flow Freshwater availability: groundwater and river flow
This graphic shows the availability of freshwater through average river flows and groundwater recharge, in cubic metres per capita per year, at the national level in the year 2000. The graphic highlights the countries with the least freshwater resources (Egypt and the United Arab Emirates) and those with the most (Suriname and Iceland).
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Phosphate levels in major basins Phosphate levels in major basins
A comparison of the major watersheds between the two decades showed that Northern Europe and North America had lower phosphate concentrations, while the Ganges and Brahmaputra watersheds in South Central Asia had higher concentrations. Nutrient control programmes in municipal and agricultural activities may be key factors in the observed reductions in phosphate concentrations.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Sea level change: estimations and predictions Sea level change: estimations and predictions
This resource includes four graphics that explain sea level change, an expected consequence of climate change. The first graphic, 'Relative Sea Level Over the Past 300 Years', shows the changes in sea level rise, in metres, that have occurred between 1700 and 2000 at three different locations: Amsterdam, Brest and Swinoujscie (in Poland). The second graphic, 'Causes of Sea Level Change: Simulated Global Mean Sea Level Changes 1900-2100' and the t...
17 May 2005 - by UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Trends in marine and freshwater populations Trends in marine and freshwater populations
The Marine Species Population Index provides an assessment of the average change over time in the populations of 217 species of marine mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. The index represents the average value of six regional ocean indices. More pronounced declines are seen in the southern oceans, which is attributed to the fact that major losses and degradation of marine ecosystems in the industrialised world took place prior to 1970. Marine sp...
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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World's water cycle: schematic and residence time World's water cycle: schematic and residence time
The water cycle consists of precipitation, evaporation, evapotranspiration and runoff. This graphic explains the global water cycle, showing how nearly 577 000 km3 of water circulates through the cycle each year. A table of estimated residence times of the world's water shows the estimated times that water resources exist as biospheric water; atmospheric water; river channels; swamps; lakes and reservoirs; soil moisture; ice caps and glaciers; oc...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Major river basins of Africa Major river basins of Africa
This map shows the locations of 13 major river basins in Africa: the Senegal, Volta, Niger, Lake Chad, Nile, Lake Turkana, Juba Shibeli, Ogooue, Congo, Zambezi, Okavango, Limpopo and Orange river basins.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Industrial areas and seasonal zones of oxygen-depleted waters Industrial areas and seasonal zones of oxygen-depleted waters
This graphic illustrates that there is a strong correlation between the world's industrial areas and the areas in which seasonally oxygen-depleted waters occur. The accompanying text explains some of the effects of land-based activities on the marine environment.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Alkalinity in major rivers Alkalinity in major rivers
This graphic shows the average bicarbonate concentrations, in milligrams per litre, at major river mouths for the time periods 1976 to 1990 and 1991 to 2000. The graphic also shows the changes in average bicarbonate levels between these two time periods. Bicarbonate is an indication of the alkalinity in the rivers which reflects the geology (rock, minerals, sand) and increases the buffering capacity, but can also increase the risk of eutrophicati...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Regional trends in freshwater alkalinity Regional trends in freshwater alkalinity
Alkalinity (as CaCO3) was analysed for all sampling stations available at the continental level. Concentrations remained reasonably steady between the two decades for Africa, Asia, South America and Australasia. Significant increases in alkalinity concentrations were noted for European and North American rivers, which may indicate a shift towards reduced acidic impacts at the continental scale.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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From wetlands to dry lands: the destruction of the Mesopotamian marshlands From wetlands to dry lands: the destruction of the Mesopotamian marshlands
The Mesopotamian marshlands in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins were devastated by damming and river channelisation during the late 1980s. This graphic illustrates the decline in the area's marshlands by comparing the locations of its marshlands and lakes in 1973 and in 2000. The graphic shows the locations of permanent and seasonal marshes; permanent, shallow and seasonal lakes and mud flats or temporary marshes. The graphic for the year 20...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Trends in water consumption and evaporation Trends in water consumption and evaporation
Throughout the 20th century, global water use has increased in the agricultural, domestic and industrial sectors. Evaporation from reservoirs has increased at a slower rate. Projections indicate that both global water use and evaporation will continue to increase. This graphic compares industrial and domestic water consumption as a whole with evaporation from reservoirs, in cubic kilometres per year. The time period covered is 1900 to 2010 (asses...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Coastlines under threat Coastlines under threat
Out of the coastlines of the world, the coasts in Europe, Asia and Africa are of highest concern, and where extra care needs to be taken to ensure that measures are taken to protect the coasts in all aspects (erosion, biodiversity, buffering capacity etc). The graphic shows the ratio of coastlines around the world that are facing moderate or significant threats.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Long-term variations in river flow, by continent Long-term variations in river flow, by continent
River runoff is cyclical in nature, with alternating cycles of wet and dry years. Significant deviations from average values differ in duration and magnitude. For example, 1940-44, 1965-68 and 1977-79 are clearly low periods in terms of total runoff from the world's rivers. During these periods, the runoff was estimated at 1 600-2 900 km3 below the average value. By contrast, 1926-27, 1949-52 and 1973-75 saw much greater levels of river runoff (S...
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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River runoff by continent, 1921-1985 River runoff by continent, 1921-1985
River runoff represents the accumlated water, from preciptation and meltwater, that feeds into rivers that feeds into seas. The estimated annual figures in this graphic is what volume of water that ends up in the World Ocean. Factors influencing this volume is primarily the area that drains (e.g. area of continent), precipitation and evaporation. Tropical regions typically exhibit greater river runoff volumes. The Amazon carries 15% of all the wa...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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River fragmentation and flow regulation River fragmentation and flow regulation
This graphic shows the number of new dams that were under construction in 1998. It also indicates the areas which are most affected by river channel fragmentation and flow regulation. River fragmentation is defined as the interruption of a river's natural flow by dams, inter-basin transfers or water withdrawal, and is an indicator of the degree to which rivers have been modified by human activity.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Causes of sea level rise from climate change Causes of sea level rise from climate change
A significant sea level rise is one of the major anticipated consequences of climate change. This graphic explains the causes of sea level change according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It explains the IPCC's A1 scenario family, which consists of three scenarios on future use of fossil energy sources, including scenario A1F1, which involves the use of fossil-intensive energy sources. This resource also includes the grap...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Nitrate in major rivers Nitrate in major rivers
Considering the data for all the rivers at the continental level, there has been little change in nitrate (NO3-N) concentrations between the two decades under comparison. Changes in the median value were not statistically significant. European rivers showed the highest nitrate loads transported to the marine environment. Comparing data from the two decades, North American and European rivers have remained fairly stable, while major river basins i...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Regional trends in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) Regional trends in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
Biochemical oxygen demand is an indicator of the organic pollution of freshwater. Alkalinity (concentration of calcium carbonate or CaCO3) is another indicator of freshwater quality. These graphics compare the concentrations of these two factors, in milligrams per litre, in the major regions of the world for the periods 1976 to 1990 and 1991 to 2000. The accompanying text explains the implications of the changes in BOD and alkalinity during these...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Water consumption - top countries Water consumption - top countries
Freshwater use is partly based on several socio-economic development factors, including population, physiography, and climatic characteristics. This graphic illustrates the world's top 20 water consumers per capita, in cubic metres, which signify which countries are more effective in using the water.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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