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Water for life

Water is where all life begins: We rely on it to grow our food, produce our goods and generate our energy. There is no substitute for water - every living thing depends on it.

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> Avoiding the next global credit crunch: water
Mark Smith


- 70% of the Earth is covered by water yet only 2.5% of the world's water is fresh water, while 97.5% is oceans.
- To ensure our basic needs, we all need 20 to 50 litres of clean water each and every day.
- Approximately 70% of all available water is used for irrigation.


IUCN's work on freshwater conservation

Water resources are a common issue for Middle East sustainable management

IUCN Deputy Director General Bill Jackson explains what IUCN is doing to make sure that there's enough water in the world both for nature and for people.

> Watch interview

A river chief's story

Sarkin Kogi

The family of Sarkin Kogi once inhabited the land that now lies covered by two billion cubic metres of water behind the 48 metre-high Tiga Dam in Nigeria.

> Read full story

Managing the Tacana Volcano Watershed in Guatemala

Volcán Tacaná

Overexploitation of natural resources, high population density, settlements and agriculture combined with extreme weather events are increasingly undermining the region's food and water security.

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A voice for all

Yvette Kerslake

Samoa is blessed with fertile soils and abundant nature but freshwater resources are getting scarce.

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Dealing with the impacts of climate change on water in Asia

Mekong in Viet Nam

Water management in Asia is often complicated by the fact that many rivers cut across many different countries.

> Listen to IUCN Asia's Water and Wetlands Programme Coordinator

Keeping the giant catfish in Thailand's Mekong River

Dragonboats on the Mekong River during the annual Giant Catfish Festival, Thailand

There were roast chickens and rice, pig’s heads and beer – all borne in a solemn procession as offerings to an unlikely recipient, the Mekong giant catfish.

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Children in Yemen walking for long distances to get water. Waqf Fund can provide sustainable funding for water projects in the region.  
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Water focus square Find out how much you know about freshwater conservation.
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Negotiate workable agreements about how to best use, manage and care for water resources.
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Water for life

An overview of IUCN Water programme work.
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World Water Week

5 -11 September, Stockholm, Sweden.
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Rocio Córdoba

Rocio Córdoba Water is the blood of our so-called blue planet.
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African freshwater species threatened

Oreochromis karongae. Endangered on the IUCN Red List.  Found in lake Malawi, East Africa The livelihoods of millions of people are at risk.
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IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) © 2010

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

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Photo credits © : Banner: J Tamelander/IUCN; Expert report: Dr. Mark Smith/IUCN; Averting the next credit crunch: IUCN WAME; Our scientists : Héctor Villalobos; A river chief: Jamie Workman; Managing Tacana watershed: UICN Mesoamérica; A voice for all: Claire Warmenbol; Dealing with the impacts: Ganesh Pangare; Keeping the giant catfish: IUCN Water Programme; Quiz: Taco Anema; African freshwater species: Pr. Gearge F. Turner; Photo gallery: Hajnalka Kovacs.