Meeting the Freshwater Challenge
From the wetlands of the Pantanal to the pond in your back garden, the fresh water we depend on is under pressure. Join us at this Earthwatch lecture to learn more about the global challenge, and find out how you can take action to become a part of the solution.
Find out how you can take action to safeguard fresh water at the Earthwatch lecture.
Discussion and debate surrounding the global Water Challenge tends to focus on water quantity and supply. We know the stats and they are of major concern:
- Less than 1 per cent of the world’s fresh water is readily accessible.
- Nearly 800 million people in the world are without access to safe water and 2.5 billion people are living without basic sanitation.
- By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population will be living in areas where water is scarce and 90 per cent of all population growth will occur in regions where water is scarce and where there is currently no sustainable access to water.
But what we hear much less about is that the quality of our supply is diminishing at an alarming rate. These facts are equally compelling:
- More people die from poor quality water annually than from all forms of violence, including war.
- As water quality declines in some regions, more than 50 per cent of native freshwater fish species and nearly one third of the world’s amphibians are at risk of extinction.
- Use of nitrogen fertilisers has increased by 600 per cent in the last 50 years and up to 30 per cent of nitrogen used in agriculture ends up in our fresh water.
The impacts of increasing urbanisation on ecosystem services are complex and not particularly well understood. The fragmentary data on the quality and dynamics of our freshwater ecosystems is a major impediment in how they are managed, with particular lack of information on streams, ponds, and smaller water bodies.
Urban water quality represents a major challenge to science, as well as representing a critical need for resource agencies responsible for protecting and enhancing these environments.
The power of Citizen Science
For more than four decades Earthwatch has been committed to providing objective and detailed research into issues facing our environment. In identifying these needs, Earthwatch launched its flagship FreshWater Watch programme in 2012. This study harnesses the power of citizen scientists in urban environments around the world to test the quality of their local water and help identify the impact human activity is having on water quality and aquatic ecosystems.
We are gaining new insights to the sustainable management of our environment and its most precious resource – water.
On February 18 we will host an event titled Meeting the Freshwater Challenge at the Royal Geographical Society in London and we have created a top panel of speakers who will discuss the water challenge from a variety of angles.
The event will be chaired by Tony Juniper; writer, sustainability advisor and leading British environmentalist and he will be joined by a speakers including Dr. Pascale Nicolet of the Freshwater Habitats Trust, Cate Lamb, Head of Water at the Carbon Disclosure Project and Earthwatch's own Fresh Water Research Manager, Prof. Steven Loiselle.
Find out what happened at our previous events at the Royal Geographical Society:
Are we ready for a wilderness? The Earthwatch debate
Palm reading: Debating the future of palm oil
Living between Desert and Development in Oman
The Earthwatch lecture series is kindly supported by:
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