In response to World Water Week in Stockholm last month, our partner WWF is hosting a water series on their blog On Balance to continue the conversation. Several different partners will be sharing their perspectives, and we're helping spread those stories here on Unbottled. This is the final post of the series, so read on below to get a snapshot of Karin's post and let us know if you have any thoughts in the comments.

US Fish

US Fish, (c) Kevin Schafer/WWF-Canon

When we asked “How do you value H20?,” the answer from World Water Week that most stands out to me is “precious.” Water is precious – especially fresh water. Of all the water on Earth, only 3% of it is fresh. Yet this 3% provides the whole world’s drinking water, delivers food through fishing and crop irrigation, is necessary to sanitation and health, generates power through dams, and houses an incredible range of biodiversity. Despite its importance, the debate on the environmental value of H20 and how to incorporate that into decision making still languishes.

For example, approximately 40% of all fish depend upon freshwater habitats, with some 200 new freshwater species being identified each year. However, at least 20% of all known freshwater fish—some 2,000 species out of the 10,000 so far identified—are endangered, vulnerable or extinct. Our freshwater systems and the species that depend on them are being lost before we can even identify them. The Yangtze’s finless porpoise or the Rio Grande’s silvery minnow cannot protect themselves or their habitats—so we need to be the stewards that ensure their survival just as much as our own.

It’s not just plants and animals that are at risk. Karin shares more on the issues of water scarcity and poor water quality on WWF's On Balance and shares her opinion on why it’s time to treat it as the precious resource that it is.

Karin Krchnak

Karin Krchnak is director of the World Wildlife Fund's freshwater program.