Fresh water can make a greater contribution to human well-being if society improves the design and management of water resource infrastructure, establishes more inclusive governance and integrated approaches to water management, and adopts water conservation technologies, demand management, and market-based approaches to reallocation that increase water productivity. Rising human population and levels of socioeconomic development have led to a rapid rate of water resource development and the replacement of naturally occurring and functioning systems with highly modified and human-engineered systems. Meeting human needs for freshwater provisioning services of irrigation, domestic water, power, and transport has come at the expense of inland water ecosystems—rivers, lakes, and wetlands—that contribute to human well-being through recreation, scenic values, maintenance of fisheries and biodiversity, and ecosystem function.
Aylward, B., Bandyopadhyay, J., Belausteguigotia, J.-C., Börkey, P., Cassar, A., Meadors, L., Saade, L., Siebentritt, M., Stein, R., Tognetti, S., Tortajada, C., Allan, T., Bauer, C., Bruch, C., Guimaraes-Pereira, A., Kendall, M., Kiersch, B., Landry, C., Mestre Rodriguez, E., Meinzen-Dick, R., Moellendorf, S., Pagiola, S., Porras, I., Ratner, B., Shea, A., Swallow, B., Thomich, T., and Voutchkov, N. (2005). Freshwater Ecosystem Services. In K. Chopra, and R. Leemans (Eds.), Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Policy Responses (pp. 213-255). Washington: Island Press.