The over utilization of underground and surface water has the potential to alter, sometimes irreversibly, the integrity of freshwater ecosystems. Some of the major impacts are summarized below:
(i) Loss of integrity of freshwater ecosystems:
Human activities for infrastructure development like creation of dams, land conversion, etc. are responsible for this loss of integrity of freshwater ecosystems. Water quality and quantity, fisheries, habitats, etc. are at risk due to this loss of integrity.
(ii) Risk to ecosystem functions:
Population and consumption growth increases water abstraction and acquisition of cultivated land. Virtually all ecosystem functions including habitat, production and regulation functions are at risk.
(iii) Depletion of living resources and biodiversity:
Overharvesting and exploitation causes groundwater depletion, collapse of fisheries. Production of food, quality and quantity of water and supply of water gets badly affected by these depletions of living resources and biodiversity.
(iv) Pollution of water bodies:
Release of pollutants to land, air or water alters chemistry and ecology of water bodies. Greenhouse gas emissions produce significant changes in runoff and rainfall patterns. Because of water pollution, water supply, habitat, water quality, food production, climate change, etc. are at risk.