Freshwater is essential for human survival, for agriculture and for the survival of our planet’s plants and animals. But pollution, climate change, water-related disease, and the destruction of our natural world all threaten the purity and availability of our most precious resource. Despite the pressing nature of these threats, water institutions and policymakers have, so far, been largely unable to develop the tools and approaches needed to address these problems.
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The Earth has 1,386,000,000 km3 of water total but only 2.5 percent of that is fresh water (35,029,000 km3 or 9,254,661,800 billion gallons of fresh water).
- Less than 1 percent of the world’s fresh water (or 0.01 percent of all water) is usable in a renewable fashion.
- The average person needs a minimum of 1.3 gallons (5 liters) of water per day to survive in a moderate climate at an average activity level. The minimum amount of water needed for drinking, cooking, bathing, and sanitation is 13 gallons (50 liters).
- The average person in the United States uses between 65 to 78 gallons of water (250 to 300 liters) per day for drinking, cooking, bathing, and watering their yard. The average person in the Netherlands uses only 27 gallons (104 liters) per day for the same tasks.
- An estimated 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Lack of clean drinking water leads to nearly 250 million cases of water-related disease each year and between 5 and 10 million deaths.
- Global warming will likely have major impacts on the world’s freshwater resources. Some areas will suffer more frequent and severe droughts; other places will face more frequent and severe floods.
- More water is drawn each day in the United States to cool power plants than for any other purpose. whirlpool refrigerator water filter replacement