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Vital Water Graphics - 2nd Edition (2008)

The report presents an overview, through a set of graphics, maps and other illustrations, of the current state of the world’s fresh, coastal and marine waters. It illustrates the causes and effects of trends that threaten our water resources, with examples of areas of major concern and future scenarios for the use and management of fresh, coastal and marine waters.

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It is hoped that this information will be useful to enable a general audience to better understand water issues and assist water users and professionals to make decisions that will protect our water resources for future generations.

This is a joint publication of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its collaborating centre GRID-Arendal in Norway. It is published as part of UNEP’s global water policy and strategy.

« Economists can highlight and quantify the benefits flowing from water, like hydroelectricity, and help build what we call a baskets of benefits. It is generally easier and more equitable to allocate the benefits than the water itself. Economists also remind us of the need to recover the cost of water delivery, treatment, storage and so on. But we’re often pushed to think in terms of water markets — buying and selling water as a commodity even though this has never happened internationally in a practical sense. As someone who is committed to water emotionally, aesthetically, religiously and for ecosystems, I am reluctant to think of water as just another economic good. ».The original version of this report is available at:

Aaron Wolf, geographer, University of Oregon, United-States.