Knowledge System

Water Use & Sources

Activities related to access and uses of the essential life-supporting liquid.


A. Sources & Types

1. Non-Point Source

a. Land runoff
b. Precipitation
c. Atmospheric deposition

i. Dry deposition (direct deposition from air)
ii. Wet deposition (from precipitation, fog, etc.)

d. Drainage, seepage, or hydraulic modification

2. Point source (ie. discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance). Including:

i. Pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit
ii. Well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock
iii. Concentrated animal feeding operation, vessel, and floating craft

B. Types

1. Basic Forms

a. Deltas
b. Estuaries
c. Coastal zones
d. Shelves
e. Deep seas

i. Animal products of the sea
ii. Vegetable products of the sea
iii. Mineral products of the sea

f. Salt water lakes

2. Fresh water types

a. Atmospheric water

i. Precipitation
ii. Water vapor
iii. Condensed water

b. Surface water

i. Lakes
ii. Rivers
iii. Wetlands

c. Ground water and soil water

i. Renewal ground water
ii. Fossil ground water

C. Manufactured water

1. Desalinated water for industrial & human uses
2. Bottled & purified drinking water

D. Uses and Services

1. Household & municipal uses
2. Industrial uses 
3. Agricultural
4. Eco-system uses
5. Technological & scientific uses


A. Human impacts on sources and needs

1. Agricultural activity

a. Land degradation

i. Salinity
ii. Toxics
iii. Pesticides
iv. Fertilizers
v. Domestic animals

b. Excessive withdrawals from aquifiers and wetlands

2. Health and sanitation impacts

a. Limited access to water
b. Municipal sewerage
c. Synthetic detergents
d. Solids in household wastes

3. Industrial/Commercial activity

a. Diversion

i. Dams for hydropower
ii. Irrigation
iii. Recreation
iv. Industrial diversion

b. Acid rain
c. Eutrophication
d. Disposal (nuclear and chemical wastes treatment)

e. Fresh water pollution
f. Sea pollution

4. Human interactions with hydrological cycle

a. Through socio-economic activities
b. Through recreational purposes
c. Through alterations of physical landscapes
d. Through technological interventions & practices

5. International water issues

a. Water sharing
b. Upstream/downstream riparians
c. Transboundary pollution

6. Natural causes and impacts

a. Droughts

i. Scarcity
ii. Famine

b. Floods

i. Waterlogging
ii. Displacement
iii. Diseases

c. Intensification & exacerbation

i. Driven by socio-economic & demographic factors
ii. Driven by public policies and decisions
iii. Driven by international actions

7. Joint human and natural causes

a. Deteriorating water quality
b. Acquatic ecosystem destruction
c. Potential climate impacts
d. Loss of biodiversity
e. Disappearing wetlands
f. Accelerating degradation
g. Other


A. Supply-side alternatives

1. Water development projects

a. Surface water

i. Dams
ii. Resevoirs
iii. Canals
iv. Ground water aquifiers for reservoir use

b. Ground water

i. Wells
ii. Pumps

iii. Interbasin transfers
iv. Recycling and reuse
v. Desalination
vi. Weather modification (cloud seeding)
vii. Vegetation management and water harvesting

B. Demand-side management

1. Network rehabilitation and optimization

a. Leakage control
b. Transferring water among alternative uses

2. Water conservation techniques and devices

a. Metering and monitoring
b. Improved irrigation practices
c. Improved industrial practices

3. Water quality improvement

a. Wastewater treatment
b. Hazardous and municipal waste management
c. Pollution prevention control
d. Other


A. Planning and management

1. Voluntary participation

a. User groups management
b. Stakeholder involvement

2. Formal regulation

a. Pricing, standards
b. Tradable permits
c. Taxes, subsidies
d. Other

3. Market strategies and mechanisms

a. Treating water as an economic commodity
b. Incentives, trading, etc.

4. Public and private interactions

a. Subsidies modes
b. Privatization of services
c. Equity strategies

B. Subsidies Modes

C. Privatization of Services

D. Equity Strategies

E. Improved information systems