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Fresh Water

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"...Altogether, (groundwater) aquifers store 97% of the planet's (available) freshwater."4

"...Nearly one third of all humanity relies almost exclusively on groundwater."3

"Water tables are falling from the over-pumping of groundwater in the bread baskets and rice bowls of central and northern China, northwest India, parts of Pakistan, much of the United States, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arabian Peninsula. Farmers in these regions are pumping groundwater faster than nature is replenishing it."5

"In the late 1990's, India's central pollution control board found that groundwater was unfit for drinking in all 22 major industrial zones it surveyed..."4

"60% of the most hazardous liquid waste in the United States—34 billion liters of solvents, heavy metals, and radioactive materials—is injected straight into deep groundwater via thousands of 'injection wells...'"4

"The industries requiring the most water... are petroleum refining, food processing, metals, chemical processing, and pulp and paper... the industrial use of water... creates toxic and hazardous pollutants that renders waste water unfit for subsequent human consumption or use in the agricultural sector; these conditions can also permanently pollute aquifers. The expansion of industry to the developing world, in addition to local human contamination of fresh water supplies, is making it more difficult to maintain water quality."6

"Approximately 70% of all available water is used for irrigation".7

Approximately 20 per cent of the world's freshwater fish species have become extinct, threatened or endangered in recent decades.1

Lowering the level of a lake or river destroys its natural edge — the most important area of an aquatic ecosystem.

"The Aral Sea basin shared by Afghanistan, Iran and five countries of the former Soviet Union was once the world's fourth largest lake. Excessive river diversions have caused it to lose half its area and three-fourths of its volume, while its surrounding wetlands have shrunk by 85 %...almost all fish and waterfowl species have been decimated and the fisheries have collapsed." 2

More than 50% of the world's wetlands have been drained, and populations of inland water and wetland species have declined by 50 per cent between 1970 and 1999.1

"Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux (built the Suez Canal, had 1999 profits of $1.5 bil on sales of $32 bil) and Vivendi SA are referred to as the General Motors and Ford Company of the water world. Between them, they own, or have controlling interest in, water companies in 120 countries on five continents and distribute water to almost 100 million people in the world."2

1. World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002, "A Framework for Action on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management",
2."Blue Gold", 2001, Maude Barlow,
3. "The Hidden Fresh Water Crises", World Watch 2000,
4."Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution", Payal Sampat, Worldwatch Paper 154, Dec. 2000,
5."Water and Instability in the Middle East", Natasha Beschorner, cited in "The Threat of Intentional Oil Spills to Desalination Plants in the Middle East: A U.S. Security Threat", James E. Lovell, Maj, USAF,
6."The Strategic Importance of Water", Kent Hughes Butts, Parameters,
7. UN World Water Development,