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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.