"Any alteration in the character or quality of the environment which renders it unfit, orless fit, for certain uses." (United Nations Publications, 2013) 


United Nations Publications. "Glossary of Shared Water Resources (English-Arabic): Technical, Socioeconomic and Legal Terminology." (2013). DOI:https://dx.doi.org/10.18356/70b462ce-en

Related Content


Using space-based technologies to monitor marine oil pollution

Oil spills are a critical form of environmental pollution that have far-reaching negative impacts. They severely degrade marine ecosystems, introducing toxic chemicals into the oceans and harming sea life. They also have significant financial impacts through the diminishment of ecotourism as well as the killing of commercially viable species. Despite these negative impacts, oil spills are notoriously difficult to track and monitor given the general lack of surveillance over the vastness of the Earth’s oceans. Space-based technologies are evolving as a tool to aid in the detection of oil spills worldwide. Two primary technologies have been optimized for oil spill monitoring: optical satellite imagery and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). Optical satellite imagery functions somewhat like taking a photograph of the Earth’s surface and requires clear skies and daylight to produce imagery. SAR imagery, on the other hand, relies on microwaves to produce images, and therefore can function regardless of weather, as well as at night. The combination of these two technologies has allowed scientists an increased ability to monitor where and when oil pollution is happening, providing an eye-in-the-sky to survey marine activities. While these space-based technologies are aiding in the detection of a variety of oil spill incidents, they are particularly helpful to monitor the illegal dumping of oil and effluent from shipping vessels as ships are no longer able to dump oily bilgewater into the ocean under the veil of darkness. Unfortunately, the enforcement of environmental and marine law remains an issue and ships are rarely prosecuted. It will be important for space-based technologies to continue to evolve and provide evidence of marine pollution in the effort to provide protection for Earth’s marine ecosystems.

From Jakarta to Nusantara: Land subsidence and other pressing water challenges in a sinking mega city

Jakarta, “the sinking city”, is the current capital city of Indonesia. Located on the Java Sea, this coastal city is home to nearly 30 million people within the greater-Jakarta area. Jakarta has grappled with water management issues for decades, leading to several current day water-related crises. Access to a reliable, potable water supply is extremely limited as there is a significant disparity between those with piped water access and those without. Citizens without piped water access have consequently relied heavily on groundwater and have dug thousands of unregulated wells as a result. This has led to a second water crisis – the chronic overextraction of Jakarta’s underground aquifers. Land subsidence is of the utmost concern as this sinking city is placed at high flood risk from the surrounding ocean. Approximately 40% of Jakarta now lies below sea level as a result and predictive models suggest that the entire city will be underwater by 2050 (Gilmartin, 2019). Compounding these problems, the climate crisis has led to significant sea level rise as glaciers and ice caps continue to melt (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2019; Lindsey, 2022). As the city of Jakarta continues to sink and sea levels rise, millions of citizens within Jakarta are at extremely high risk of flooding, particularly during monsoon season. Thousands of residents have already been forced to abandon their homes in search of improved conditions and higher ground (Garschagen et al., 2018).


Local Perspectives Case Studies

Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal


MarineAware is a modelling and visualisation platform for identifying and responding to oil spills at sea. It was developed by Riskaware for the Earth and Sea Observation System (EASOS) project as part of the UK Space’s Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP). Since it's initial development for the EASOS project, MarineAware and its modelling output have been used by the UK, US and Malaysian governments, as well as by commercial response and salvage companies in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.


Bhuvan Ganga App

Bhuvan Ganga App is ISRO’s mobile application developed to enable public to collect and report information on various pollution sources that affects the water quality of river Ganga. This mobile app will provide a platform for crowd sourcing to monitor pollution in river Ganga and enable decision makers at National Mission for Cleaning Ganga (NMCG) under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India to prioritize interventions.