Over the past 14 years, WWF and its partners have worked alongside the local communities and the government to restore Lake Hong’s rich Chinese cultural history, damaged by unsustainable fishing practices. Sustainable fishing methods have been demonstrated, to help reduce pollution and increase healthier fish in cleaner water.
Agriculture is expanding rapidly in Brazil: in the state of Mato Grosso, home to the Pantanal wetland and its headwaters, vast areas of forests have been cleared and vital vegetation has been removed around water sources to make way for cattle farming and staple crops for export, such as soy and sugar cane. Lack of enforced forest protection and unsustainable farming practices has led to extensive soil erosion, reducing the water quality.
During the Harmattan, a relatively cold season characterised by dry winds and clouds of dust, the river Benue, in Nigeria, becomes almost completely dry.
The riverbed in India is drained from the barrage, leaving behind a desert-like area where the water used to be. Citizens of the area complain of the poor health of the river, in particular the depletion of the water levels, the pollution, and the disappearance of river life.
Women pull water from a well in the Thar desert, where temperatures hover between 48ºC and 50ºC on summer days. With an extremely low water table and continuing drought, sometimes water must be hauled from a depth of 150-200 ft. “Women fall unconscious on their way to these dug wells,” says Marvi Bheel, 45, a resident of Bewatoo, Tharparkar. This journey can take up to three hours.
As the biggest city in the western hemisphere, São Paulo is a huge metropolis, home to more than 21 million people. The Tietê River and Pinheiros River are the main sources of fresh water in the city, but both became heavily polluted in the late 20th century through industry and wastewater from residential areas. Although São Paulo is considered the financial capital of Brazil, nearly 2.1 million residents live in the city’s favelas (slums).