Despite being known to everyone that water is life, far too few understand the roles of trees, plants and other living things in ensuring clean and fresh water. This has led to destruction of wet lands that once played a vital role in cleaning water and preventing floods, said scientists and activists.
Across the globe, politicians and others in power have made decisions to achieve short-term economic interests without considering the long-term impact on the natural environment, said Anik Bhaduri, executive officer of the Global Water System Project (GWSP), a research institute based in Bonn, Germany.
Bhaduri told IPS, "Humans are changing the character of the world water system in significant ways with inadequate knowledge of the system and the consequences of changes being imposed".
Bhaduri said that list of dangerous human impacts on the world's water is long and still growing. Only 0.03% of the world's water is available as fresh and clean.
On an average, humans built one large dam everyday for the last 130 years. It distorted the natural river flows to which ecosystems and aquatic life adapted over millennia.
Bhaduri added that pumping out ground water, oil and gas has led river deltas to sink and some deltas have been falling at a rate four times faster than global sea level is rising.
According to a study published in Nature in 2010, more than 65% of the rivers all over the world are in trouble.