Why They Matter
Humans Need Clean Water
Clean, fresh water is an essential ingredient for a healthy human life, but 1.1 billion people lack access to water and 2.4 billion don’t have adequate sanitation. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may be facing water shortages. Poor water quality can expose people to diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, which kills 2 million people each year, mostly children under the age of 5.
Freshwater habitats come in many forms, including lakes, rivers, streams, springs and wetlands. These systems support more than 100,000 species, but they are some of the most endangered habitats in the world.
Species at Risk
Freshwater systems, home to more than 100,000 species, tend to hold a greater proportion of species threatened with extinction. More than 20% of freshwater species have become threatened, endangered or extinct in recent years.