Rivers in CrisisBack
- Rivers in Crisis website
- Related paper published in Nature
- Professor David Dudgeon
- School of Biological Sciences
Less than 0.01 per cent of all water on the planet is useable clean fresh water. Meanwhile water security for nearly 80 per cent of humanity is at risk with millions of people already suffering from droughts and pollution.
This bleak picture has been revealed as part of a unique study into the planet’s water security by a consortium of university scientists, which includes Professor David Dudgeon, Chair of Ecology & Biodiversity at the University of Hong Kong. The findings have been collated from an ongoing international collaborative project called “Rivers In Crisis” which hopes to educate people and governments through its website to take action to safeguard water supplies.
"Overcoming this global crisis of water insecurity for both humans and biodiversity requires deliberate prevention of impairment rather than simply offsetting threats once they arise," the site states.
The 11 scientists, from universities and institutions in the US, Australia, Switzerland and Hong Kong, also found that biodiversity is under threat on rivers where humans live. And 65-per-cent of the lengths of the world’s large rivers are now impaired by humankind. The academics are working on the most comprehensive survey of the Earth’s waterways ever undertaken and have compiled their extensive data into two maps showing the levels of threat to humans and to ecosystems that rely on rivers. They used a state-of-the-art global database of 23 geospatial drivers depicting environmental stressors with known impacts on Human Water Security and Biodiversity.
Professor David Dudgeon has been providing data from Asia. This includes local knowledge on China on populations and water flow in major rivers that could only be obtained on the ground.
Watch this short video to find out more about the Rivers in Crisis website and the data that Professor Dudgeon and his international colleagues have gathered.