Facts and Figures

Worldwide, water observation networks provide incomplete and incompatible data

  • Worldwide, water observation networks provide incomplete and incompatible data on water quantity and quality for managing water resources and predicting future needs – and these networks are in jeopardy of further decline.
  • Regional differences in data provided to the Global Runoff Data Centre are apparent in both quantity and timeliness. Hydrologic data from North and Central America, the Caribbean, Europe and Mediterranean Asia are far greater than data from other regions, where few hydrologic stations provide data to the centre, and update intervals are too great.
  • Global data on water use exist primarily for the agricultural sector (for example, the AQUASTAT database by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).
  • Data on consumptive and non consumptive use of water resources are not a regular part of many national statistics.
  • This situation is unsatisfactory because it prevents effective management of water demand relative to availability and supply of freshwater.
  • Improving water resources management requires investments in monitoring and more efficient use of existing data.

Related themes: Developing Knowledge and Capacity

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