Fresh water is a strategic resource in a rapidly changing world. It is a source of energy, an avenue of transportation, habitat for a myriad of organisms, and essential for life. Fresh water structures the physical landscape, is a central feature of climate, and exerts major influences on economic growth and demographic patterns. Yet, as the human population increases, more and more demands are placed on freshwater ecosystems. Already, sufficient clean water and healthy aquatic habitats have become a rare natural resource.
Understanding the abilities and limits of freshwater ecosystems to respond to human-generated pressures has become vital to long-term societal stability. These are problems for basic science; they reflect national and global needs, and they are happening now.
Long Term Ecological Research Network. "Freshwater Imperative - Executive Summary." (1995). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/lter_reports/105