Water resources around the world are increasingly stressed. Over-abstraction of surface and groundwater is impacting economic activity, harming biodiversity, and leaving communities without access to reliable and adequate water supplies to meet their basic needs. Meanwhile, agricultural runoff, industrial effluent, and municipal waste degrade water resources with pathogenic and chemical contaminants that pose environmental and public health risks. Climate change and rising temperatures are changing seasonality and precipitation patterns, causing more frequent and intense droughts and floods, and a rise of sea levels. These collectively are affecting recharge of groundwater and surface water replenishment as well as exposing communities around the world to more damaging climatic events, localized contaminations and increased saline water intrusion in aquifers, and conflicts over resources. Technical capacity, human resources, and financial constraints along with inadequate monitoring and management systems have compounded these water risks.
These are among the many challenges identified in water resources management profiles of USAID’s Water for the World Act High Priority Countries prepared by USAID’s Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP). Each profile in this series synthesizes information on water resources, water quality, the water-related dimensions of climate change, and water governance and provides an overview of the most critical water resources challenges and stress factors. Each profile includes: a summary of available surface and groundwater resources; analysis of surface and groundwater availability and quality challenges related to water and land use practices; discussion of climate change risks; and synthesis of governance issues affecting water resources management institutions and service providers.