Global Water Resources Report 2021

Why in News?

  • WMO (World Meteorological Organization) has recently released its first annual State of Global Water Resources Report 2021.


  • The aim of this annual report is to support monitoring and management of global freshwater resources in an era of growing demand and limited supplies.
  • The report focuses on three major areas:
  • Streamflow, the volume of water flowing through a river channel at any given time.
  • Terrestrial water storage (TWS) — all water on the land surface and in the sub-surface.
  • The cryosphere (frozen water).
  • Between 2001 and 2018, UN-Water reported that a staggering 74% of all natural disasters were water-related.
  • The recent UN climate change conference, COP27, in Egypt, urged governments to further integrate water into adaptation efforts, the first-time water has been referenced in a COP outcome document in recognition of its critical importance.
  • 3.6 billion people have inadequate access to water at least one month per year and this is expected to increase to more than five billion by 2050.
  • Large areas of the globe recorded drier-than-normal conditions in 2021, which was a year in which precipitation patterns were influenced by climate change and a La Niña event.
  • The area with below-average streamflow was approximately two times larger than the above-average area, in comparison to the 30-year hydrological average
  • There is more evidence of the worsening impact of global warming on the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) that straddles eastern Pakistan, northern India, southern Nepal and the whole of Bangladesh.
  • The Ganga-Brahmaputra and Indus basins that form the Plain, recorded more water flowing in the river channels due to glacial melt even as their total water storage declined in 2021.
  • This will be extremely worrying news since the IGP supports nearly half a billion people across the four countries.
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