The UNESCO is all set to publish the first-ever world map of underground aquifers, which account for some 96 per cent of global freshwater resources.
Despite their strategic importance, no global inventory of aquifers most of which straddle international boundaries had been compiled before United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) started work on its online map. It will be launched to coincide with the submission to the General Assembly of a draft Convention on Trans-boundary Aquifers next week.
The Unesco is presenting a detailed map identifying underground water resources that are shared by at least two countries, using data compiled since 2000 by the organisation’s International Hydrological Programme for a groundwater database.
The map will include information about the quality of water and rate of replenishment of the 273 trans-boundary aquifers 68 in the American continent, 38 in Africa, 65 in Eastern Europe, 90 in Western Europe and 12 in Asia. Underground aquifers account for 70 per cent of water used in the European Union, and are often the only source of supply in arid and semi-arid areas 100 per cent in Saudi Arabia and Malta, 95 per cent in Tunisia and 75 per cent in Morocco.