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EditPhoto Title:Fresh Water
EditPhoto Description:Fresh water is the lifeblood of the planet. No one can survive without it.
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_22439117.jpg
EditImage Description:Udzungwa National Park provides the communities that surround it with clean drinking water.
EditPhoto Credit:© Benjamin Drummond
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Water is life. It’s vital. It supports the immense diversity of life on Earth. It’s a source of food, health and energy.

Fresh water makes civilization possible.​

But fresh water, in turn, isn’t possible without a healthy planet — and human actions are putting a healthy planet at risk.

Why is fresh water important?

Energy to Fuel Growth

If you’re reading this on an electronic device, water made it possible. That’s because energy extraction and production requires the use of water. It’s the driver for hydropower, the cooling mechanism for power plants and the reason biofuels can grow. Water powers our lives.

Food We Eat

A huge amount of humanity’s available fresh water — 70% of it — is used for agriculture. What’s more, freshwater fish and other species are an important part of many people’s diets. The lesson is simple. Without water, we’d starve — and so would the fish.

Joy and Inspiration

Fresh water helps renew us — culturally, spiritually, physically. We swim in it, we catch its fish, we gaze admiringly at its wildlife and we place it at the center of some of our most ancient spiritual rituals. Anyone who’s ever woken up early to fish or splashed through a waterfall knows: Water can make us happy.

Water We Drink

The average person can go for three weeks without food, but only three days without water. Yet less than 1% of the fresh water on Earth is readily accessible for human use. We have to use what we have responsibly. And we must protect the natural places, like forests and wetlands, that store, filter and supply clean water for everyone on the planet.

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Section Info

EditSection Title:What are the issues?
EditSection Description:
EditSection ID (Anchor Tag): issues[Optional]



EditCircle color:fact--brown    
EditCircle icon:icon-people
EditResult value:1 billion
EditResult field:people facing water scarcity
EditText:Climate Change
As our climate changes, so does our planet’s supply and flow of fresh water. According to one estimate, as the Mediterranean region and southern Africa face reduced rainfall, 1 billion people who live in these already dry regions will face increased water scarcity.


EditCircle color:fact--green    
EditCircle icon:icon-city
EditResult value:> ⅓‎
EditResult field:of large cities get water from forests
Forests are nature’s “water factories” — capturing, storing, purifying and gradually releasing clean water to towns and cities located downstream. More than one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant portion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas.


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EditCircle color:fact--blue    
EditCircle icon:icon-water
EditResult value:40%
EditResult field:more demand than supply
EditText:Limits to water supplies
As the global population grows, so does demand for fresh water. Many water systems around the world are currently overtaxed, and some have already collapsed. According to one estimate, by 2030 our planet’s need for water will outstrip its reliable supply by 40%.


EditCircle color:fact--color-465560    
EditCircle icon:icon-fish
EditResult value:60%
EditResult field:U.S. lakes too polluted for fishing
Pollution from human activities, especially agriculture, washes into streams, lakes, estuaries and oceans. Already, nearly 60% of U.S. lakes are too polluted for fishing and swimming — and lakes such as Lake Erie have massive dead zones that put commercial activity like fishing at risk.
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CI’s solutions

We need a global transformation of the way the world manages fresh water. CI is working to make that happen. We work to protect the places around the world that people rely on most for drinking water, agriculture and other uses. Our projects start with sound science and offer innovative solutions that can serve as models for conservation anywhere on Earth. Given the critical link between nature and human health, we work to break down the barriers that exist between conservation and health organizations, and we encourage leaders to consider the value of nature in the decisions they make, especially about dams and other large-scale development projects. By doing so, we’re promoting clean water for all.

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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_68197835.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:© Benjamin Drummond
EditCaption Title:The Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)
EditCaption Description:With more than 850,000 dams globally, economies require water infrastructure. Developing nations are rapidly constructing more. Can we reduce poverty while protecting ecosystems?
EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/Alliance-for-Global-Water-Adaptation-agwa-freshwater.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More


EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_94491816.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:Anlung Reang floating village on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. © Kristin Harrison and Jeremy Ginsberg
EditCaption Title:Tonle Sap Lake: Conserving Cambodia’s Fish Factory
EditCaption Description:Home to more than three million people, the Tonle Sap floodplain supports one of the world’s most productive freshwater fisheries.
EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/tonle-sap-lake-conserving-cambodia-fish-factory-mekong.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More
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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_53603967.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:© Cristina Mittermeier
EditCaption Title:Integrating Freshwater Conservation with Sanitation and Hygiene Efforts
EditCaption Description:CI is working to improve collaboration between health, development and conservation professionals. With the help of our partners, we are producing tools to design, coordinate and implement projects with benefits for people and nature alike.
EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/Freshwater-Conservation-Sanitation-and-Hygiene-in-Sub-Saharan-Africa.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More
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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_12594089.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:Girl, Nadakuni Village. © Levi S. Norton
EditCaption Title:Sustainable Development for Fiji’s People
EditCaption Description:The Sovi Basin is Fiji’s largest remaining undisturbed lowland forest, providing fresh water to tens of thousands of people. But in recent years, it has been under threat from logging and agricultural land conversion.
EditLink URL:/projects/pages/sustainable-development-for-fiji-people-sovi-basin.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More
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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_56849551.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:© Pete Oxford/iLCP
EditCaption Title:The Freshwater Health Index
EditCaption Description:The Freshwater Health Index will provide a process for measuring the overall condition of freshwater ecosystems — and their capacity to support healthy, economically sustainable human populations.
EditLink URL:/freshwater-health
EditLink Text:Read More
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EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_97484442.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:© Conservation International/photo by AAlain Andriamamonjisoa
EditCaption Title:Improving Human and Ecosystem Health in Marolambo, Madagascar
EditCaption Description:CI is working with a local health organization to influence behaviors around water use — and achieve cleaner water, more resilient ecosystems and healthier human populations.
EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/Improving-Human-and-Ecosystem-Health-in-Marolambo-Madagascar.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More


EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_43061272.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:Children in the Ankeniheny Zahamena Corridor, Madagascar. © Conservation International/photo by Solofoniaina Ralaimihoatra
EditCaption Title:Avoiding Deforestation in Madagascar
EditCaption Description:The health of a forest is proving to be intimately tied with the health of society.
EditLink URL:/projects/pages/avoiding-deforestation-in-madagascar.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More


EditImage URL:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_66112480.jpg
EditImage Alt Text:Tayrona National Park, El Cabo San Juan. © Christopher Schoenbohm
EditCaption Title:Adapting to a Changing Climate in Colombia
EditCaption Description:The water, coasts and mountains of Colombia directly benefit 80% of the population — and are critical to protecting against climate change impacts.
EditLink URL:/projects/Pages/Adapting-to-a-Changing-Climate-in-Colombia.aspx
EditLink Text:Read More
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EditCall to Action Title:What can you do?
EditCall to Action Description:As many as 783 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. Your donation can help change this and increase access to clean water for all.
EditCall to Action Button Description:Donate now
EditCall to Action Button Link:/donate
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You can also help if you...

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Video Section

Edit Section Title:Watch
Edit Section subtitle:Learn why fresh water is the “essence of life” in this beautiful video.
Edit Video ID:k4HXCtV1y-w
Edit Video Thumbnail (must be 16x9 pixel ratio):[Optional]
Edit Video Page URL:/pages/video.aspx
Edit Video image alt text:Video: Freshwater, the essence of life
Edit Background image:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_53603967.jpg
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Button Section

Edit Section Title:Waste less food
Edit Section subtitle:Wasted food also means wasted water — about 25% of all fresh water consumed annually in the United States is associated with discarded food.
Edit Button link:/pages/what-you-can-do-tips.aspx#waste-less-food
Edit Button text:Learn more
Edit Background image:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_23832090.jpg
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​Email Signup Centered

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More of Our Work Links

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Section Configuration

EditAnchor tag for sticky nav:[Optional]
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First Image

EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

Second Image

EditTitle:Global Stability
EditImage Alt Text:Udzungwa National Park's Sanje Waterfall overlooks farmland that depends on its water. © Benjamin Drummond

Third Image

EditTitle:Greater Mekong
EditImage Alt Text:Woman rows to a floating market in the Mekong region. © Amir Jina
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