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Fact Sheet 2010–3106

National Research Program

Water Security—National and Global Issues

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Potable or clean freshwater availability is crucial to life and economic, environmental, and social systems. The amount of freshwater is finite and makes up approximately 2.5 percent of all water on the Earth. Freshwater supplies are small and randomly distributed, so water resources can become points of conflict. Freshwater availability depends upon precipitation patterns, changing climate, and whether the source of consumed water comes directly from desalination, precipitation, or surface and (or) groundwater. At local to national levels, difficulties in securing potable water sources increase with growing populations and economies. Available water improves living standards and drives urbanization, which increases average water consumption per capita. Commonly, disruptions in sustainable supplies and distribution of potable water and conflicts over water resources become major security issues for Government officials. Disruptions are often influenced by land use, human population, use patterns, technological advances, environmental impacts, management processes and decisions, transnational boundaries, and so forth. Water security is a critical factor in Government planning.

First posted November 5, 2010

For additional information contact:

James A. Tindall,
U.S. Geological Survey, National Research Program
Box 25046, MS 413
Denver, CO 80225-0046
Telephone: (303) 236-5005

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Tindall, J.A., and Campbell, A.A., 2010, Water security—National and global issues: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3106, 6 p.

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