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UNEP.Net Freshwater Portal opens

Arendal 17 December 2001 - The declining state of the world's freshwater resources, in terms of quantity and quality, may prove to be the dominant issue on the environment and development agenda of the coming century. About one-third of the world's population lives in countries with moderate to high water stress;

the problems are currently most acute in Africa and West Asia, but lack of water is already a major constraint to industrial and socio-economic growth in many other areas, including China, India and Indonesia. If present consumption patterns continue, two out of every three persons on Earth will live in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025.

In order to help environmental assessment professionals and policy makers keep up to date with the most authoritative information on this critical environmental field, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today opened the UNEP.Net Freshwater Portal, an online gateway to information about freshwater. The portal, available on the Internet at, is an extensive catalogue of information resources ranging from documents, to databases, to maps and graphics, covering the most critical freshwater issues of the day: water scarcity, irrigated agriculture, water and sanitation, water quality, groundwater, transboundary water management, water and ecosystems, floods and droughts, and urban water.

The UNEP.Net Freshwater Portal is part of the UNEP.Net information system,, a network of cooperating centres facilitating access to authoritative environmental information from a broad range of information and data providers. Members of the UNEP.Net network are committed to making their information freely available to the whole spectrum of users of environmental information. Other special topic areas of UNEP.Net that are currently operational include Climate Change, the Arctic, and the GEO Data Portal which provides over 300 statistical data sets on a variety of topics.

The Freshwater Portal is operated by GRID-Arendal in Norway, one of UNEP's partner offices dealing with environmental information systems and state of the environment reporting.

For more information, please contact:
Aake Bjoerke
Telephone: +47 3703 5711

UNEP.Net Freshwater portal

Monday 17 Dec 2001
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