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Water stress (areas of concern)

Water is a critical natural resource for both natural ecosystems and human subsistence. Some of the most immediate pressures on land that lead to degradation include diversion of surface waters and the removal of groundwater reserves to meet agricultural, industrial and domestic demands. This layer displays the areas of concern for water use related issues derived from the convergence of global evidence of human-environment interactions that can have consequences on land degradation. It highlights areas where the total water withdrawal (by the agriculture, industrial and domestic sectors) exceeds 40% of the total available annual renewable water supply.

Cherlet, M., Hutchinson, C., Reynolds, J., Hill, J., Sommer, S., von Maltitz, G. (Eds.), World Atlas of Desertification, Publication Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018.


Concerns can be validated or dismissed only by evaluating them within their local biophysical, social, economic and political contexts. Local context provides an understanding of causes and consequences of degradation, but also offers guidance for efforts to control or reverse it.

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