Prologue The state of water resources

Global freshwater use has increased by a factor of six over the past 100 years (Figure P1) and continues to grow at a rate of roughly 1% per year since the 1980s (AQUASTAT, n.d.). While the rate of increase in freshwater use had tapered off in most Member States of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where per capita water use rates tend to be among the world’s highest, it continues to grow in the majority of the emerging economies, as well as in middle- and lower-income countries (Ritchie and Roser, 2018). Much of this growth can be attributed to a combination of population growth, economic development and shifting consumption patterns.

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