Diminishing water supply signals ‘time to reverse land degradation’

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has called attention to the risks of drought and water scarcity and the importance of sustaining healthy soils.

In order to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification, CIWEM has warned that the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought may expose almost two‐thirds of the world’s population to increased water stress by 2025.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report of 2013, decreasing water supply is among the top five risks that humanity will face over the next ten years.

CIWEM says that nearly 70% of globally available freshwater is held in the soil, and only 11% is accessible as stream flow and groundwater.

Unsustainable land use pollutes fresh water sources and leads to degradation of soils, worsening the effects of drought on affected populations and ecosystems, the organisation says.

CIWEM executive director Nick Reeves said: “Securing water supplies into the future necessitates sustainable stewardship of our diverse landscapes and a grown-up debate about population growth and consumption.

“We are all responsible for water and land conservation, the sustainable use of natural resources, and for building resilience. It’s time to reverse land degradation by putting the environment at the heart of economic development.”

Conor McGlone

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