World Summit on Groundwater
The sustainable use of groundwater is vital for the future of humanity. But today, this resource is in a blind spot in terms of international cooperation. On Wednesday 7 December, Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, will open a world summit dedicated to this issue at UNESCO headquarters. She will advocate that States must systematically build groundwater into all water management plans and agreements.
Surface water contained in rivers and lakes has become rarer as a consequence of climate change and over-use. This has led many countries to rely more heavily on groundwater, with a six-fold increase in abstraction recorded globally over the last 70 years. Current levels of groundwater use are historically low.
Overexploited aquifers can result in loss of valuable ecosystems, land subsidence and sea-water intrusion into coastal aquifers. The deteriorating quantity or quality of the groundwater contained in aquifers is also hindering access to clean water and socio-economic development.