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Global freshwater resources: quantity and distribution by region Global freshwater resources: quantity and distribution by region
Glaciers and icecaps contain approximately 70% of the world's freshwater, but groundwater is by far the most abundant and readily available source of freshwater. This graphic illustrates the quantity (in cubic kilometres) and distribution of the world's freshwater resources in glaciers and permanent ice caps, in groundwater, and in wetlands, large lakes, reservoirs and rivers. Further information is given in the accompanying text.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Water withdrawal and consumption Water withdrawal and consumption
Freshwater use is partly based on several socio-economic development factors, including population, physiography, and climatic characteristics. This graphic illustrates freshwater use, in cubic kilometres per year, from 1900 to 2000 for the world's major regions, and projects freshwater use for 2000 to 2025. It also shows how much water was withdrawn and consumed, in cubic kilometres per year, by each continent at the end of the 1990's. Finally, ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Freshwater withdrawal in agriculture, industry and domestic use Freshwater withdrawal in agriculture, industry and domestic use
The agricultural sector is by far the biggest user of freshwater, primarily for irrigation of arable land. This graphic shows the relative percentages of water use by the agricultural, industrial and domestic sectors in the countries of the world in 2000.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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World's surface water: precipitation, evaporation and runoff World's surface water: precipitation, evaporation and runoff
The world's surface water is affected by different levels of precipitation, evaporation and runoff in different regions. This graphic illustrates the different rates at which these processes affect the major regions of the world, and the resulting uneven distribution of freshwater. It shows the amount of precipitation in cubic kilometres for each region, and the percentage of that amount which evaporates or becomes runoff. The text below the grap...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Freshwater Stress 1995 and 2025 Freshwater Stress 1995 and 2025
This graphic shows the amount of water withdrawal as a percentage of the total available supply, at the national level in 1995 and in 2025 (projected amounts). Overall, the percentages are expected to rise substantially by 2025. This resource also includes a graphic showing the number of people suffering from water stress and water scarcity worldwide in 1995, compared to projected rates for the year 2050. As the population continues to rise, the ...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Renewable freshwater supplies, per river basin Renewable freshwater supplies, per river basin
Freshwater represents a crucial sort for human development, for nature and for ecosystem services. This graphic compares freshwater supplies in cubic metres per capita, per river basin in 1995 with a projection of freshwater supplies for the same areas in 2025. The graphic shows which areas were experiencing water stress, which were experiencing water scarcity and which had sufficient quantities of freshwater in 1995, and shows projections for th...
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Fish diversity in freshwater systems Fish diversity in freshwater systems
Although freshwater ecosystems such as rivers, lakes and wetlands occupy less than 2% of the Earth's total land surface, they provide a wide range of habitats for a significant proportion of the world's plant and animal species. This graphic explains which areas of the world have high and low populations of fish species and of endemic fish.
17 May 2005 - by Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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Groundwater: aquifers, wells and circulation Groundwater: aquifers, wells and circulation
This graphic illustrates groundwater flow, two types of aquifers (confined and unconfined) and three types of wells (artesian; flowing artesian and a water table well in an unconfined aquifer). It shows how groundwater is circulated through the aquifers and how it is recharged. Groundwater represents one of the most important resources for drinking water for human consumption.
17 May 2005 - by Delphine Digout, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
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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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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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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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