Theme 4: Water and Life Support Systems

The context

Trans-Alaskan pipeline carries vital resources to the valley below

©istockphoto.com/S. Jacobs
Trans-Alaskan pipeline carries vital resources to the valley below

Human use of water resources has had a profound effect on the resource stock and quality of water over most of the inhabited world. These stresses threaten the sustainability of society and are particularly problematic in arid and semi-arid areas, coastal areas and small islands where population density and industrial activity are greatest. Yet societal responses to warning signs of depleting groundwater levels, dry streams and polluted water have generally been inadequate.

The work at a glance

IHP will address the need to improve the management of water for productive purposes. The focal areas under this theme deal with protecting water quality from natural and anthropogenic sources of contamination; water augmentation methods applicable in the most water-stressed area; and the issues and complexities of achieving sustainable water utilization in urban and rural areas.

Focal Areas:

  • Protecting water quality for sustainable livelihoods and poverty alleviation
  • Augmenting scarce water resources, especially in SIDS
  • Achieving sustainable urban water management
  • Achieving sustainable rural water management
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