Emerging global threats, such as biological invasions, climate change, land use intensification, and water depletion, endanger the sustainable future of lakes and reservoirs. To deal with these threats, a multidimensional view on the protection and exploitation of lakes and reservoirs is needed. The holistic approach needs to contain not just the development of economy and society but also take into account the negative impacts of this growth on the environment, from that, the balance between the three dimensions can be sustained to reach a sustainable future. As such, this paper provides a comprehensive review on future opportunities and challenges for the sustainable development of lakes and reservoirs via a critical analysis on their contribution to individual and subsets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, lakes and reservoirs are key freshwater resources. They play crucial roles in human societies for drinking water provision, food production (via fisheries, aquaculture, and the irrigation of agricultural lands), recreation, energy provision (via hydropower dams), wastewater treatment, and flood and drought control. Because of the (mostly) recent intensive exploitations, many lakes and reservoirs are severely deteriorated. In recent years, physical (habitat) degradation has become very important while eutrophication remains the main issue for many lakes and ponds worldwide. Besides constant threats from anthropogenic activities, such as urbanization, industry, aquaculture, and watercourse alterations, climate change and emerging contaminants, such as microplastics and antimicrobial resistance, can generate a global problem for the sustainability of lakes and reservoirs. In relation to the SDGs, the actions for achieving the sustainability of lakes and reservoirs have positive links with the SDGs related to environmental dimensions (Goals 6, 13, 14, and 15) as they are mutually reinforcing each other. On the other hand, these actions have direct potential conflicts with the SDGs related to social and economic dimensions (Goals 1, 2, 3 and 8). From these interlinkages, we propose 22 indicators that can be used by decision makers for monitoring and assessing the sustainable development of lakes and reservoirs.
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