Water is where all life begins. We rely on it to hydrate ourselves, grow our food, produce our goods, and generate our energy. There is no substitute for water—every living thing depends on it. But only 3% of Earth’s water is freshwater, with two-thirds of it frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps. However, we have long overstretched this precious resource, and the availability of suitable water is diminishing because of pollution, degradation of ecosystems, agricultural runoffs, and more. The result is that the world faces considerable challenges in equitably managing the freshwater available for a growing population.

Learning Resources

Safeguarding freshwater supplies takes effort and ingenuity. Find out why water is so precious and learn how diverse communities are developing sustainable solutions to protect and conserve their water resources.


I Am Water

A short promotional video on water created for the 5th World Water Forum, the world’s largest water policy forum. Length: 1:02. Source: IUCN.

Why Care About Water?

Learn about water in all its forms and how you can make a difference to safeguard this precious and finite natural resource. Length: 2:29. Source: National Geographic Society.

The Life of Water

Take an animated journey through the life of water. Produced by the UNESCO Office in Venice for the Water Project H2Ooooh. Length: 2:08 minutes. Source: UNESCO Office in Venice.

Our Thirsty World

This National Geographic Society video explores the topic of fresh water–the world’s most essential natural resource but also one of the most threatened. Length: 3:28 minutes. Source: National Geographic Society.

Water for Nature, Nature for Water

We all know that nature needs water to survive, but did you know water needs nature as well. This video explores the interconnection. Length: 4:33 minutes. Source: IUCN.

Water and Climate Change

Why is it important to place water management issues at the center of climate change adaptation? Watch this short video to learn why. Length: 2:18 minutes. Source: IUCN.

Where Do We Get Water?

In this animated lesson on fresh water, Christiana Z. Peppard breaks the numbers down and discusses who is using water and to what ends. Length: 3:47 minutes. Source: TEDEd.

Fresh Water Scarcity

Fresh water is essential for survival–but there’s not nearly enough of it now. This animated video by Christiana Z. Peppard looks at what’s happening and why. Length: 3:39 minutes. Source: TEDEd.

Tales of Water

Tales of water from the Pangani River Basin in northeastern Tanzania. Length: 12:09 minutes. Source: IUCN.