Water quality is degraded directly through chemical or nutrient pollution, or indirectly when the capacity of ecosystems to filter water is degraded or when land-use changes increase soil erosion.
We have greatly overstepped the capacity of many freshwater and coastal ecosystems to maintain healthy water quality. And although developed countrieshave improved water quality to some extent within that same period, waterquality in developing countries – particularly near urban and industrial areas – has degraded substantially.
Declining water quality poses a particular threat to the poor who often lack ready access to potable water and are most subject to the diseases associated with polluted water.
|Agroecosystems||Coastal ecosystems||Forest ecosystems||Freshwater ecosystems|