World Start
  Hydropolitical Vulnerability
Access to Water

Water is indispensable; an irreplaceable prerequisite for life. For the last ten thousand years, this finite renewable resource has fueled the agricultural growth that gave rise to civilization. For over two hundred years water has powered industrialization as a raw resource providing hydroelectric power. Historically and currently many factors contribute to the pressures placed on hydrologic systems and related ecosystems. For the most part, these pressures are functions of growing populations, increasing demands of food production, industrial and domestic sectors, rising consumption and standards of living.

Most of the world's water is saline or trapped in ice sheets at the poles. Only about 1% of the world's water is available as liquid fresh water and of that approximately 98% percent is ground water, which can be difficult to reach and costly to pump. Water is not equally distributed and equally accessible. Today approximately 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean safe drinking water and an estimated 2.5 billion do not have proper toilets or sewage systems. As a result, more than 5 million people die every year to water-related causes.

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