Water, rivers and wetlands

Authored by: Jens Newig , Edward Challies

Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics

Print publication date:  September  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415694209
eBook ISBN: 9780203799055
Adobe ISBN: 9781135090517


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Water is vital to the life-supporting capacity of planet Earth. As a natural resource, water is essential to human activity across a number of sectors. Agriculture, energy generation, industrial production, and municipal supply and waste disposal, for example, are highly reliant on water. At an even more fundamental level, numerous ecosystem services essential to human collective wellbeing depend on clean water and the integrity and continuity of the hydrological cycle (Falkenmark 1997; UNEP 2009). Without the sustainable management and protection of water resources and associated ecosystems there can be no sustainable development or economic growth within ecological limits. However, surface water bodies, aquifer systems, and the hydrological cycle itself are increasingly under pressure as a result of human activity (IPCC 2007: ch. 3; MEA 2005: ch. 7).

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