Biodiversity loss and the global water crisis - A fact book
Globally we are facing a water crisis. This booklet aims to highlight the links between this water crisis and biodiversity loss. Both are the result of the same root causes and both problems reinforce each other. The booklet draws on the knowledge and understanding developed by Wetlands International and its partners over many years and is supplemented with key information from other, peer reviewed studies.
We use and dispose of more water than ever before: to grow food and now increasingly biofuels, for domestic use and to generate power for our homes and industries. Such activities are viewed as necessary - through them the world’s poorer countries can develop and those that are already developed can become greener and more sustainable.
However, the growing demand for water is diminishing the amount, quality and regularity of water available for our ecosystems. This is causing a loss and degradation of biodiversity in ecosystems of all types. It is also diminishing the ability of ecosystems to provide essential services that keep people healthy and out of poverty.
70% of the Earth’s surface is water.
However, only 0.3% of all global water is fresh surface water.
In terms of area, less than 2% of the world’s surface consists of lakes, marshes, rivers or other freshwater wetlands.
An estimated 126,000 described species rely directly on freshwater habitats.
Only the preservation of water rich areas and healthy water flows ensures the survival of thousands of species.