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Natural resource - water (freshwater run-off)

Year: 2008 Author: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Freshwater – a natural resource which has been adopted as a human right by the UN in 2002: 'the human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient; affordable; physically accessible; safe and acceptable water for personal and domestic uses'. People depend on this resource for drinking and cooking, for irrigation of farms, for hygiene and sanitation and for power generation. The map presenting this resource only focuses on one part of the geography of freshwater – other aspects are the groundwater resources of the world (including fossil water) and the water stored in soils, ice sheets and glaciers. For the 2.5 billion people living in low-income countries, agriculture is the most important sector by employment, and by far the largest user of water. Irrigated land currently produces 40% of the world’s food on 17% of the agricultural land. Hydro-electricity is the key power source of 26 Sub-Saharan countries, and for another 13 countries, it is the second main power source. The map is a part of a set, presenting different natural resources, with a focus on developing countries, and the use of natural resources for economic growth and poverty alleviation.
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