23 Oct 2008 05:10:02
World aquifer map unveiled
The first-ever map of the world's underground water supplies has been unveiled by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
Drawing on data compiled since 2000, the map charts the world's underground aquifers where 96 per cent of global freshwater resources are stored.
The map reveals that 273 aquifers cross national boundaries and 90 of those are in western Europe, though the UK does not share aquifers with other nations.
Unesco is publishing the map as part of its submission on a convention on aquifers that cross boundaries.
While the map suggests that other areas will face bigger water problems than the UK, the countries aquifers do not have the fastest rate of replenishment.
The map details areas where groundwater is saline, a problem which could affect more aquifers as climate change causes sea levels to rise.
A government report two years ago also suggested that Britain's water supplies, health, ecosystem, planning system and tourist industry would be affected by climate change, the Independent reported.http://tinyurl.com/68s53r