Water Monitoring: Mapping Existing Global Systems and Initiatives
The long-term sustainability of water is in doubt in many regions of the world. Currently, humans use about half the water that is readily available. Water use has been growing at more than twice the population rate, and a number of regions are already chronically short of water. Both water quantity and water quality are becoming dominant issues in many countries. Problems relate to poor water alloca - tion and pricing, inefficient use, and lack of adequate integrated management. The major withdrawals of water are for agriculture, industry, and domestic consumption. Most of the water used by industries and municipalities is often returned to watercourses degraded in quality. Irrigation agriculture, responsible for nearly 40% of world food production, uses about 70% of total water withdrawals (90% in the dry tropics). Groundwater, which supplies one third of the world’s population, is increasingly being used for irrigation. Water tables are being lowered in many areas making it more expensive to access.