Guides & Case Studies

Analyzing and interpreting spatial information.

Global Freshwater Crisis

80% of the world vulnerable to water scarcity

Freshwater systems around the globe are currently experiencing various levels of stress due to human activities such that nearly 80% of the world’s population is currently vulnerable to water scarcity and associated aquatic biodiversity is threatened. Vörösmarty et al. (2010) studied and mapped 23 stressors that threaten water quality and availability as well as aquatic biodiversity. The stressors were grouped into 4 categories:

catchment disturbance (ex. livestock density) pollution (ex. pesticide loading) water resource development (ex. dam density) biotic factors (ex. fishing pressure).

Expert opinion was used to calculate the weights of each stressor, capturing differences between human water security and aquatic biodiversity.

Vörösmarty et al. (2010) summarized the combined effects of the stressors in a map ...