Conflicting uses of water resources

Other Names:
Muliple uses of water resources

The many uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. At the global level, it's estimated that 70 percent of water use is in agriculture, 20-22 percent is used in industry, and 8-10 percent in the municipal sector including household uses.  Water demand is disproportionate to its supply in many parts of the world, and the gross imbalances are expected to continue into the near future. Increasing human population further strains water resources and creates unparalleled competition for water in many of the poorest countries. Climate change will majorly disrupt the water cycle and directly impact water resources for many communities around the world.


Just over 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered in water. Of this, 97 percent is salt water, and 3 percent is freshwater.

Just about two thirds (69 percent) of freshwater is frozen in glaciers and ice caps, roughly 30 percent is ground water, and a tiny fraction (around 0.3 percent) is surface water, or water that is above ground or in the air.

Worldwide, 70 percent of water use is in agriculture, roughly 20 percent is used in industry, and 10 percent in the municipal sector including household uses.

Agricultural use:

According to the Wikipedia article on Water Resources: "It is estimated that 70% of worldwide water is used for irrigation, with 15–35% of irrigation withdrawals being unsustainable. It takes around 2,000 – 3,000 litres of water to produce enough food to satisfy one person's daily dietary need. This is a considerable amount, when compared to that required for drinking, which is between two and five litres. To produce food for the now over 7 billion people who inhabit the planet today requires the water that would fill a canal ten metres deep, 100 metres wide and 2100 kilometres long."

Industrial use:

Wikipedia states that "It is estimated that 22% of worldwide water is used in industry. Major industrial users include hydroelectric dams, thermoelectric power plants, which use water for cooling, ore and oil refineries, which use water in chemical processes, and manufacturing plants, which use water as a solvent. Water withdrawal can be very high for certain industries, but consumption is generally much lower than that of agriculture. "

Household use:

Roughly 8% of worldwide water is used for domestic purposes. This includes water for drinking, bathing, cooking, toilet flushing, cleaning, laundry and gardening. It has been estimated that each person needs around 50 liters of water per day to carry out the basic domestic water needs, excluding water for gardens.


Water insecurity
International Water Resources Association (IWRA)
Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH)
Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)
Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC)
International Society of Groundwater for Sustainable Development (ISGSD)
International Water Association (IWA)
World Water Council (WWC)
African Water Association (AfWA)
Arab Water Council (AWC)
European Federation of National Associations of Water and Waste Water Services
European Water Resources Association (EWRA)
European Water Association (EWA)
Freshwater Action Network - Central America (FANCA)
International Water History Association (IWHA)
Water Reuse Europe (WRE)
Maghreb-Mashreq Alliance for Water
Water Science and Technology Association (WSTA)
Africa Groundwater Network (AGW-NET)
Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate (AfriAlliance)
African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)
Agricultural and Land and Water Use Commission for the Near East (ALAWUC)
Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGAW)
Central American Water Resource Management Network (CARA)
European Water Platform (WssTP)
Freshwater Action Network South America (FANAS)
Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA)
Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAfWaC)
Global Water Solidarity (GWS)
IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
Inter-American Centre for Studies on Water Resources
Inter-State Coordination Water Commission of Central Asia (ICWC)
International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change (ICWRGC)
International Office for Water (IOW)
International Water and Resource Economics Consortium (IWREC)
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Network for Capacity Building in Integrated Water Resources Management (CAP-Net)
Regional Centre on Urban Water Management, Teheran (RCUWM)
Scientific Information Centre of Interstate Coordination Water Commission of Central Asia (SIC ICWC)
Water Footprint Network (WFN)
World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)
World Youth Parliament for Water (WYPW)
African Water Facility (AWF)
Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF)
End Water Poverty (EWP)
European Institute of Research on Water Policy
European Water Partnership (EWP)
Freshwater Action Network (FAN)
Global Water Partnership (GWP)
International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA)
International Secretariat for Water (ISW)
International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW-LEARN)
Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN)
Water Research Fund of Southern Africa (WARFSA)
Water Solidarity Network
Women for Water Partnership (WfWfP)
Africa Water Journalist Network (AWJN)
Association for International Water Studies
Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
Gender and Water Alliance (GWA)
Global Water
International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM)
International Centre for Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES Centre)
International Centre of Water for Food Security (IC Water)
International WaterCentre (IWC)
Solidarity Water Europe (SWE)
Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)
Third World Center for Water Management
UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science
Water Governance Facility (WGF)
Water Witness International
Waterkeeper Alliance
World Water Institute (AAI)
Oxfam International
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
17.10.2021 – 05:44 CEST