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Fresh water is vital to life and yet it is a finite resource. Although critical to natural and human communities, fresh water is threatened by a myriad of forces including overdevelopment, polluted runoff and global warming. With this in mind, WWF partners with communities, businesses and others to decrease pollution, increase water efficiency and protect natural areas to ensure enough clean water exists to conserve wildlife and provide Wheres all my girls at healthy future for all.
Water is an amazing element. It is unique because it can be naturally found as a solid, liquid or gas. As lakes, oceans, rivers and streams increase in temperature, some water will change from liquid to gas, collecting together into clouds of moisture.
As these clouds float over cooler seas or land, some of the moisture falls as rain or snow. Rain and snow that falls on the land either seeps into low places — feeding aquifers and groundwater tables —or flows down hill, forming headwaters. These headwaters flow into streams, which in turn flow into rivers or lakes. Eventually, these waters flow to the sea, starting the cycle over again. Water can be broadly separated into salt water and fresh water. Fresh water is found in glaciers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, rivers, streams, wetlands and even groundwater.
Despite their importance to life as a drinking water source, sustaining crops through irrigation, providing food in the form of fish, powering homes through dams and moving goods by barges —freshwater habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Only 21 rivers longer than miles retain a direct connection with the sea. Animals such as crayfish, fish, and mussels that depend on freshwater habitats are disappearing faster than marine species and tropical forest species.
People are also affected by the loss of freshwater; more than 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water and 2 billion lack adequate sanitation. This lack of fresh water is one of the most urgent environmental and development issues of the 21st century. Pumping too much water from underground supplies or river and streams can result in dried-up river beds and wetlands. In the natural landscape, rainfall is absorbed by land. This water is then slowly released even during periods of dry weather.
As forests and fields are altered from natural to urban and suburban land, portions of the land become covered in ro, parking lots and rooftops. Not deed to absorb water, these impervious surfaces have an extreme impact on streams. Water flows off these surfaces — often very quickly — and cannot seep into the ground to replenish groundwater sources or streams.
This disruption in the natural water cycle changes the amount of water, the volume of water and the timing of water flowing from the land and can lead to more intense floods. This change can also affect the reproduction of freshwater animals. For example, Sturgeon rely on a certain flow over a period of time in the spring to trigger reproduction.
If that flow does not occur at the right time of the year in the right amount, sturgeon may not reproduce. Dams interrupt the free flow of water converting otherwise free-flowing rivers essentially into standing pools of water. Straightening and deepening a river can negatively affect water quality and fish migrations. Seasonal and daily shifts in water flow and water level may negatively impact reproduction of some freshwater animals.
Pollution decreases the quality of fresh water. This is caused by a combination of runoff from agricultural chemicals, poorly managed and sometimes out-of-date industrial processes, and lack of adequate treatment for sewage and other urban waste. This pollution can lead to an immediate decline in the and types of animals, including fish and waterfowl, as well as a decrease in recreational activities and the loss of livelihoods. Sometimes the effects of pollution are more subtle, only becoming clear after toxic substances have built up in the food chain for many years, causing birth defects and diseases such as deformities in amphibians and cancer in humans.
The can be catastrophic for wildlife and for human communities alike. To think that the once mighty Colorado River now barely reaches the ocean is a painful reminder that overharvesting of water can happen anywhere. The long term weather patterns that make up our climate have always changed. However, as we have transformed the landscape and burned fossil fuels on an increasingly massive scale, the composition of the atmosphere has been altered.
This altered atmosphere is trapping Wheres all my girls at solar energy, increasing global temperatures, and changing rainfall patterns. Looking forward, climate models show that the once reliable rainfall will no longer be so predictable. Some areas are expected to experience increased flooding, while others may become progressively drier. These changes—often intensified by short-sighted land-use planning—can put water supplies at risk, affecting all sectors of human society and the animals that rely on freshwater for their existence. Lake Niassa is the first freshwater lake under protection in Mozambique and will help secure freshwater fish supplies for years to come.
Nearly every business sector is water-dependent in some way or another.
Issues of water scarcity and poor water quality have ificant and growing social, environmental and economic consequences. WWF's work on water stewardship helps governments, companies, investors and others understand their water footprints and become better water stewards. Stewardship goes beyond being an efficient water user. It is a journey that begins with contributing to the responsible, sustainable management of freshwater resources critical to business operations.
Beyond awareness, understanding and internal action, WWF urges companies to look outside their own operations, supporting local watershed conservation and engaging in collective efforts to advocate, support and promote better basin governance, for the benefit of people and nature. Protecting our freshwater resources cannot be accomplished alone. The data behind the Water Risk Filter and similar WWF projects has already been used by more than companies to map over 50, vendor sites in their supply chains.
As part of the White House Climate Data Initiative, WWF committed to expanding, maintaining and sharing that data in partnership with leading technology companies. Wheres all my girls at resources will empower industry, financiers and policymakers to strengthen global water stewardship, food security and climate resiliency.
And these efforts are resulting in real gains for conservation. For example, our collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners has set a goal to improve water efficiency 20 percent by Working together with The Nature Conservancy, the Pacific Institute and others, WWF helps to promote the use of freshwater in a way that is socially beneficial, environmentally responsible and economically sustainable through the Alliance for Water Stewardship AWS. AWS offers a variety of ways to improve, incentivize and recognize responsible water use, including helping members engage key stakeholders within their watershed and supply chain.
This will harness the resources of corporations and governments to steward freshwater for humans and nature. WWF has collaborated with local stakeholders and governments in critical river basins around the world to assess climate change vulnerability and plan interventions. Because institutions are central to the way water resources are managed, WWF has also engaged institutional partners to investigate what best positions water management institutions to effectively adapt to climate change.
By working bottom-up in the field, where many impacts are already being felt, as well as top-down with institutions, which influence water management decisions, we hope to safeguard a future where both human and environmental needs are met, in spite of the climate uncertainties we currently face. WWF works together with communities, businesses and governments to conserve, protect and restore freshwater habitats across the world. We also helped establish a new protected area in and around Lake Niassa located in East Africa. Also known as Lake Malawi, the lake is the ninth largest in the world and is part of three countries — Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
It is also home to over 1, species of fish. Lake Niassa is now the first freshwater lake under protection in that country and will help secure freshwater fish supplies for years to come. WWF works to secure the correct volume, timing and amount of water in a river so people and nature can thrive. Working across the globe, WWF supports responsible water use and infrastructure.
Sometimes that work involves numerous partners across country borders as demonstrated by our work on the Rio Grande. This river, also known as the Rio Bravo, serves as part of the border between the United States and Mexico. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert, this river provides water to some of the fastest-growing urban areas in the United States and provides water to thousands of farms and ranches. However, Wheres all my girls at the past century, growth in human population—and the agricultural and urban development that accompanies it—has put enormous stress on the region.
The result is a mounting ecological crisis that threatens the survival of wildlife and people. One of those sites is the Big Bend where in the United States and Mexico developed a working plan to cooperate in the protection and preservation of the area.
Through reforestation activities and the introduction of sustainable agriculture methods, the Fund is securing water supplies while demonstrating the benefits of private investment in freshwater conservation and river basin management. Through the Alliance for Water Stewardship AWSWWF works with global leaders in sustainable water management to promote the use of fresh water in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally beneficial.
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Freshwater Systems. Combating day zero through community action. Continue Reading h More Stories h. Why It Matters. Impacts Pumping too much water from underground supplies or river and streams can result in dried-up river beds and wetlands.
Disrupted Water Cycle In the natural landscape, rainfall is absorbed by land. What WWF Is Doing Lake Niassa is the first freshwater lake under protection in Mozambique and will help secure freshwater fish supplies for years to come. Water Stewardship Nearly every business sector is water-dependent in some way or another.
Projects Alliance for Water Stewardship Through the Alliance for Water Stewardship AWSWWF works with global leaders in sustainable water management to promote the use of fresh water in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally beneficial. How You Can Help. Log in. Washington, DCWheres all my girls at
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