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  1. 1

    World's water resources face mounting pressure.

    Mygatt E

    [Washington, D.C.], Earth Policy Institute, 2006 Jul 26. [4] p.

    Global freshwater use tripled during the second half of the twentieth century as population more than doubled and as technological advances let farmers and other water users pump groundwater from greater depths and harness river water with more and larger dams. As global demand soars, pressures on the world's water resources are straining aquatic systems worldwide. Rivers are running dry, lakes are disappearing, and water tables are dropping. Nearly 70 percent of global water withdrawals from rivers, lakes, and aquifers are used for irrigation, while industry and households account for 20 and 10 percent, respectively. Pressure on water resources is particularly acute in arid regions that support agricultural production or large populations--regions where water use is high relative to water availability. The Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, South Asia, China, Australia, the western United States, and Mexico are especially prone to water shortages. (excerpt)
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  2. 2

    Making the link: population, health, environment.

    Nash JG; De Souza RM

    Washington, D.C., Population Reference Bureau [PRB], MEASURE Communication, 2002 Aug. [8] p.

    The number of people on Earth, where they live, and how they live all affect the condition of the environment. People can alter the environment through their use of natural resources and the production of wastes. Changes in environmental conditions, in turn, can affect human health and well-being. Human demographic dynamics, such as the size, growth, distribution, age composition, and migration of populations, are among the many factors that can lead to environmental change. Consumption patterns, development choices, wealth and land distribution, government policies, and technology can mediate or exacerbate the effects of demographics on the environment. The precise impact of a given change depends on the interplay among all these factors, but it is clear that demographic change can affect the environment. (excerpt)
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    Water-quality changes in Latvia and Riga 1980-2000: possibilities and problems.

    Juhna T; Kjavins M

    Ambio. 2001 Aug; 30(4-5):306-314.

    Long-term changes in the environmental quality of water in Latvia (chemical composition of inland waters, wastewater treatment, and drinking-water treatment practices and quality) as a response to socioeconomic changes have been studied. Water composition, the major factors influencing water chemistry, and human impacts (wastewater loading) were studied to determine changes that occurred after recent reductions in pollution emissions, particularly nutrient loading, to surface waters. After 1991, (Latvia regained independence in 1991) inland water quality has begun to improve mainly as a result of decreases in nutrient loads from point and nonpoint sources and substantial efforts in the area of environmental protection. The situation differs, however, for drinking-water treatment, where practices have also changed during the whole period from 1980 till 2000. More stringent drinking water-quality standards and novel insights regarding changes in water quality in the distribution network, necessitate further improvements in public water supply, and place this particular water issue among Latvia's main priorities. (author's)
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  4. 4

    Global population and water: access and sustainability.

    Leete R; Donnay F; Kersemaekers S; Schoch M; Shah M

    New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2003 Mar. xiii, 57 p. (Population and Development Strategies No. 6; E/1000/2003)

    UNFPA fully supports multi-sectoral policies and population and development programmes designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Such policies and programmes need to take into account the linkages that exist between the different goals and the critical intervening role of population factors and reproductive health. Progressing towards the MDG targets, eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development is dependent on making progress towards the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) goal of achieving universal access to reproductive health services. Population growth and dynamics are often associated with environmental degradation in terms of encroachment of fragile ecosystems, rapid and unplanned urbanization, as well as water and food insecurity. Population pressures tend to be highest in countries least able to absorb large increments of people, threatening sustainable development and resulting in deterioration in the quality of life. (excerpt)
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  5. 5

    Water for food production.

    Rosegrant MW; Cai X

    Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment, 2001 Oct. [2] p. (Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Focus 9. Brief 2)

    Water for agriculture is critical for food security. However, water for irrigation may be threatened by rapidly increasing nonagricultural uses in industry, households, and the environment. New investments in irrigation and water supply systems and improved water management can meet part of the demand. But in many arid or semiarid areas--and seasonally in wetter areas--water is no longer abundant. The high economic and environmental costs of developing new water resources limit supply expansion. Therefore, even new supplies may be insufficient. Whether water will be available for irrigation so that agricultural production can provide for national and global food security remains an urgent question for the world. This brief examines the relationship between water and food production over the next 30 years using IFPRI?s IMPACTWATER model. This global model simulates the relationships among water availability and demand, food supply and demand, international food prices, and trade at the regional andglobal levels. The baseline scenario incorporates our best estimates of the policy, investment, technological, and behavioral parameters driving the food and water sectors. We then look at how faster growth in municipal and industrial (M&I) demand and slower investments in irrigation and water supply infrastructure would affect food production. (excerpt)
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  6. 6

    Groundwater: potential and constraints.

    Moench M

    Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment, 2001 Oct. [2] p. (Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Focus 9. Brief 8)

    Groundwater problems emerging in many parts of the world reduce drought-buffer supplies, threaten environmental values, and increase risks for many of the world?s poorest people. Programs to improve public understanding and basic scientific information regarding the resource base and to encourage the evolution of groundwater management systems are essential. Furthermore, because many countries will need years to develop systems for managing groundwater, policies should encourage users to adapt to water scarcity conditions rather than attempt to solve water problems per se. (excerpt)
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  7. 7

    Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Overview.

    Meinzen-Dick RS; Rosegrant MW

    Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment, 2001 Oct. [2] p. (Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Focus 9. Brief 1)

    Access to enough water of sufficient quality is fundamental for all human, animal, and plant life as well as for most economic activity. At the global level, plenty of water is available. But to meet the demand, water has to be supplied where and when it is needed. These spatial, temporal, and qualitative characteristics pose the greatest challenge to meeting the rising demand in all sectors. Water withdrawals are only part of the picture. Almost all uses put something back into the water that degrades it for other users. Water quality and competition between users are therefore critical issues for the future of water use. There is no single ?magic bullet? to solve these complex and interrelated problems. Increases in water supplies, and especially storage, are needed, but so is demand management, including not only economic instruments but also education and other efforts to change behavior. Appropriate technologies and institutions must both play a role. (excerpt)
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  8. 8

    Population growth, demographic change and environment in developing countries.

    Potrykowska A

    In: Demographic transition: the Third World scenario, edited by Aijazuddin Ahmad, Daniel Noin, H.N. Sharma. Jaipur, India, Rawat Publications, 1997. 183-204.

    This book chapter describes world population growth and distribution and patterns in China and India. The author discusses population structure and the effect of population growth on the environment. It is stated that population may double in the next 50 years. Growth of population in developing countries mandates both socioeconomic development and family planning programs. 95% of world population growth occurs in developing countries. The annual increase in total world population amounts to 87 million people. Africans are the fastest growing population in the world. Population growth does not match the distribution of world resources; it affects land use patterns, consumption patterns, and the environment. Developed country populations represent about 25% of world population, but they consume 50% of the world's food. Industrialized farming in the West uses a large proportion of world energy and financial resources. Livestock in the US consume 25% of the world's entire grain production, which is equal to the entire consumption in both India and China. The causes of hunger, malnutrition, and famine in developing countries originate in the economic and political sphere and are influenced by external factors. There is a need to increase food production and to use more advanced farming techniques. The land newly added to production each year may equal the amount of unusable land due to erosion, dryness, salt deposits, and water saturation. Agricultural demand for water is likely to double during 1970-2000. Growing food demand will create the need to increase use of chemical insecticides and fertilizers. Population pressure on the land to produce more food and cash crops leads to losses of topsoil, trees, and native plants and animals. Environmental damage is a result of poverty, affluence, land tenure systems, uncontrolled commercialization of natural resources, inadequate pollution controls, destructive farming methods, and urbanization.
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  9. 9

    Population growth and consumption.

    Chalkley K

    POPULATION TODAY. 1997 Apr; 25(4):4-5.

    The relationship between population growth, resource consumption, and environmental degradation is complex. The rise in "greenhouse gases" that will cause climatic change is clearly due to human activity, and pollutants are often concentrated in densely populated areas. However, even an area with a negative population growth, such as Russia, can experience severe environmental degradation due to poor management. Consumption patterns have the most effect on ozone depletion, while population growth threatens biodiversity of and within species through the destruction of ecosystems. Migration joins population growth and social factors, such as land inequality, as major causes of deforestation, and global demand for water is expected to increase faster than the rate of population growth. Coastal development and over-fishing threaten to deplete the oceans, while soil quality is threatened by inappropriate land use. Estimates of the earth's carrying capacity range from less than 3 billion to more than 44 billion people, indicating how difficult it is to assess this figure. Development efforts throughout the world may lead to human gains that will ultimately be negated by environmental losses. These factors have led to growing support for environmentally sustainable development.
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  10. 10
    Peer Reviewed

    Socio-economic factors influencing sustainable water supply in Botswana.

    Lado C

    GEOJOURNAL. 1997 Jan; 41(1):43-53.

    This study examined water use patterns in Botswana, and socioeconomic and political factors that influence sustainable water supply, and discusses water conservation and high sustainable levels of supply and demand; the market structure and its prices, costs, and subsidies; and sustainable water supplies. Data were obtained from unpublished workshop papers on integrated water resource management from seminars conducted in 1994, at the University of Botswana's Department of Environmental Science. Rainfall varied by location. Evaporation is about 4 times the average annual precipitation, which leads to continual water deficiency. Water supplies are based on ground and surface water in the ratio of 2:1. Groundwater is only partly renewable. Surface water is renewable only under the circumstance of sufficient rain and maintained storage capacity. Conservation of water is affected by the high rates of evaporation, few suitable dam sites, high temporal variability of runoff and large surface water storage capacity, the constraints of semi-arid environments, the normally critical water balance, rapid population growth and concentrations in urban areas, economic conditions, and the general increase in living conditions. The governments need to strengthen control over non-market water use and to provide sufficient incentives for efficient water use. Water prices should increase in order to reflect the total economic value, regardless of the political consequences. There are needs to protect water catchment areas and to clarify ownership of water resources. Control of demand should include prioritizing water consumption.
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  11. 11

    Critical trends: global change and sustainable development.

    United Nations. Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

    New York, New York, United Nations, 1997. iv, 76 p. (ST/ESA/255)

    This report identifies critical long-term trends in environmental and socioeconomic matters and policy implications. This report will be used for preliminary meetings for the next Earth Summit + 5. Seven chapters focus on development and the environment, trends in world population, energy and materials consumption, the food supply, water resources, human development, and conclusions. Developing countries are rapidly following patterns of developed countries. There is a global pattern of consumerism and capitalism. Wealth differences are separating the rich from the poor. Poor countries continue to be marginalized in a very visible way. Environmental air and water quality is improving in developed countries, but is deteriorating in developing countries. Concern about nonrenewable resources has lessened. Concern focuses on the threat of continuing degradation of renewable resources. The issues that constrain sustainable development are growing poverty, population growth and urbanization, fossil fuel consumption, and rapid natural resource degradation. Positive signs include positive economic forecasts, accelerated technological innovations, and the spread of democratic institutions. Population programs, agricultural management techniques, and high standards of public health and education have positive effects. Policy has failed to eradicate poverty, improve access to sanitation and energy supplies, and reduce natural resource degradation. Constraints include lack of financial resources, lack of institutional capacity, and political unwillingness. Promising policy approaches include increased investment in people, encouragement of clean and efficient technologies, and pricing reforms.
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  12. 12

    Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources.

    Boberg J

    Santa Monica, California, RAND, 2005. [150] p.

    Demographic factors play an important role in environmental change, along with biophysical, economic, sociopolitical, technological, and cultural factors, all of which are interrelated. Recent demographic trends have sparked concern about the impact of the human population on a critical element of the natural environment - fresh water. In the last 70 years, the world's population has tripled in size while going from overwhelmingly rural to a near balance of urban and rural - a change that affects both how humans use water and the amount they consume. In the late 1980s, concern over a potential water crisis began to grow. Much of the resulting literature has taken an alarmist view. Numerous reports sensationalized the so-called water crisis without talking into account the local or regional nature of water resources and the relationship between supply and demand. A number of factors are cited to support the position that the earth is headed toward a water crisis. They include the following: the human population continues to grow; water withdrawals are outpacing population growth; per-capita water availability is declining; clean, potable water is less available worldwide. (excerpt)
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  13. 13

    Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources. Summary.

    Boberg J

    In: Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources, [by] Jill Boberg. Santa Monica, California, RAND, 2005. xiii-xxiii.

    Demographic factors play an important role in environmental change, along with biophysical, economic, sociopolitical, technological, and cultural factors, all of which are interrelated. Recent demographic trends have sparked concern about the impact of the human population on a critical element of the natural environment - fresh water. In the last 70 years, the world's population has tripled in size while going from overwhelmingly rural to a near balance of urban and rural - a change that affects both how humans use water and the amount they consume. In the late 1980s, concern over a potential water crisis began to grow. Much of the resulting literature has taken an alarmist view. Numerous reports sensationalized the so-called water crisis without talking into account the local or regional nature of water resources and the relationship between supply and demand. A number of factors are cited to support the position that the earth is headed toward a water crisis. They include the following: the human population continues to grow; water withdrawals are outpacing population growth; per-capita water availability is declining; clean, potable water is less available worldwide. (excerpt)
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  14. 14

    Towards viable drinking water services.

    Hukka JJ; Katko TS

    NATURAL RESOURCES FORUM. 1997; 21(3):161-7.

    This article offers a framework for developing viable drinking water services and institutional development in developing countries. The framework evolved from the authors' research and field experience in transition and developing economies. Viability is related to operative technology, appropriate organizations, and adequate cost recovery within the context of water resources, human and economic resources, sociocultural conditions, and other constraints. The ability of institutions to solve the problems of coordination and production depends upon player motivation, the complexity of the environment, and the ability of the players to control the environment. Third party enforcement of agreements are essential to reduce gains from opportunism, cheating, and shirking. Empirical research finds that per capita water production costs are 4 times higher in centralized systems and lowest in decentralized systems with coordination from a central party. Three-tiered systems of governments, regulators, and service providers are recommended. Management options must be consumer driven. The worst case scenario is consumer's reliance on vending and reselling with no alternative source of supply. Policies should have a strong focus on institutional reforms in the water sector, the development of a consumer driven water sector, facilitation of appropriate private-public partnerships, sound management of existing capital assets, a system for building viability into national strategies for the water sector, and financially self-sufficient and consumer responsible water supply organizations.
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  15. 15

    Water scarcity: a fundamental crisis for Jordan.

    Jaber JO; Probert SD; Badr O

    APPLIED ENERGY. 1997; 57(2-3):103-27.

    This article defines the problems of the Fertile Crescent region, and discusses the nature and extent of water resources and their management in Jordan. Jordan was once covered with naturally occurring forests and now has few natural freshwater supplies. Local rainfall is low, irregular, and unevenly distributed over the country. About 80% of Jordan is desert, which receives rainfall of under 50 mm annually. Rainfall is highest over the highlands. Water is channeled, dammed, or allowed to flood low lying areas. The remainder enters underground aquifers. Climate affects evaporation losses of water. The average evaporation rate amounts to about 94% of the average precipitation rate, which leads to increased water salinity in aquifers and reservoirs. Jordan obtains most of its supplies from rainfall in the winter. Jordan exploits surface water resources and renewable and nonrenewable groundwater resources. Per capita water supplies declined during 1987-95. The rate of water consumption exceeds renewable water supplies. Water shortages have reduced the use of fertile land for production, reduced the use of oil shale as an energy source, and reduced economic development because of high capital investment for water harnessing. Future efforts should focus on reuse of waste water, brackish water desalinization, and rainwater collection, which could satisfy about 30% of present water demand. Oil shale and waste heat from open-cycle gas turbines could be used for desalinization processes and generation of electric power. The likely doubling of population by 2020 creates a strong incentive to address water deficit issues.
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  16. 16

    Water demand management and farmer-managed irrigation systems in the Colca valley, Peru.

    Guillet D

    In: Globalization and the rural poor in Latin America, edited by William M. Loker. Boulder, Colorado, Lynne Rienner, 1998. 137-54. (Directions in Applied Anthropology)

    This article examined the issues involved in a policy change to water demand management among farmer-managed irrigation systems (FMIS) in the highlands of the Colca Valley of southwestern Peru, and its effects on water use efficiency, equity, and orientation among smallholders. It is concluded that the transfer of models of water rights to irrigation systems with communal water management, unmeasured water use, and on-demand access at low or no cost runs counter to smallholder production operations in FMIS in the Andes and Latin America. Demand management would produce the industrial, corporate, large-scale farm operation that would replace or compete with the efficient, productive, smallholder sector. Privatization of water rights conflicts also with historical trends in land, labor, and capital in Latin America. Reforms instituted in the 19th century reverberate with class tension and conflict. The disjuncture of water rights from land ownership would lead to a new class of water rich landlords. Water rights attached to land that are transferable and alienable would reward rich landowners and limit water for irrigation during droughts. Colca Valley smallholders have found ways to control access to water and rights attached to land. Social and economic policies must strengthen local policies and be cautious of efficiency promises of applying demand management to Andean highland irrigation systems. 59% of Andean peasant communities (1589 sites) in Peru rely on irrigation, of which 61% distribute water communally. Recent reforms may include a new water law that would make water a freely tradeable commodity.
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  17. 17

    Beyond Malthus: sixteen dimensions of the population problem.

    Brown LR; Gardner G; Halweil B

    Washington, D.C., Worldwatch Institute, 1998 Sep. 89 p. (Worldwatch Paper No. 143)

    This study looks at 16 dimensions or effects of population growth in order to gain a better perspective on how future population trends are likely to affect the human prospect. The evidence gathered here indicates that the rapid population growth prevailing in a majority of the world's countries is not going to continue much longer. Either countries will get their act together, shifting quickly to smaller families, or death rates will rise from one or more [stresses such as AIDS, ethnic conflicts, or water shortages]. The sixteen topics are grain production, fresh water, biodiversity, climate change, oceanic fish catch, jobs, cropland, forests, housing, energy, urbanization, natural recreation areas, education, waste, meat production, and income. (EXCERPT)
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  18. 18

    China's water resources facing the millennium.

    Nickum JE

    In: Constraints on development: focus on China and India, [compiled by] Nippon Foundation [and] Asian Population and Development Association. [Tokyo, Japan], Asian Population and Development Association, 1999 Mar. 71-85. (Population and Development Series No. 23)

    This article discusses water resources in China, comparisons with India, and deficits. The character of development is likely to be changed by growing limits on resources. Both India and China share similar water issues and have similar water consumption. China is tied with Canada as the third-most water-abundant country, after Brazil and Russia. India ranks 7th after Indonesia and the US. Both India and China have regions of scarcity. Over 75% of water is used for irrigation in both countries. Irrigation in China is expected to dominate water use through 2030, when industrial use will equal agricultural use and then stabilize. Agricultural water use is expected to increase indefinitely. In 1997, the Yellow River stopped flowing for 222 days due to dry weather. Constant deficits are due to upstream and downstream uses. About 122 projects divert water from the Huang He River in 85 counties and municipalities. By 1990, upstream uses affected downstream supplies. The State Council set nonbinding quotas on water allocation. Downstream uses support high value crops or off-farm uses, while upstream uses support low value crops with subsidized water pricing. About 66% of China's 600 cities are short of water. The largest cities are the most affected. The primary causes are excessive demand, slow development of water supply projects, and pollution. Water shortages affect about 2% of total output. China's cities are supplementing supplies by diverting water away from farmers. Lowering of the water table increases pumping costs. It is still undetermined as to whether China will adapt to avoid tragedy or postpone tragedy.
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  19. 19

    Why immigration reduction is necessary to protect the environment. U.S. population growth: primary cause of environmental degradation.

    Carrying Capacity Network

    [Washington, D.C.], Carrying Capacity Network, [1997]. 15, [1] p.

    This article identifies population growth and immigration as the primary cause of environmental degradation in the US. The US has ample natural resources, but population growth forces a shift of open land to residential, industrial, and infrastructure use and results in increased consumption and pollution. About 94% of old-growth forests have been cut down. 99% of tall grass prairie is gone. Only 103 million of the original 221 million acres of wetlands remain. Coastal areas are experiencing the stress of population density and degradation from run-off. Over 2 million acres of prime cropland are lost to erosion, salinization, and waterlogging. The US has surpassed its carrying capacity. Reducing consumption is necessary, but so is reduced population growth. Population is expected to double over the next 60 years. Arable land is expected to be reduced by over 50% (250 million acres). Domestic food prices will increase due to the loss of farmland per person. Water consumption must decline by 50% in accordance with population growth and resources. Groundwater that supplies 31% of agricultural use is being depleted 25% faster than replenishment. An overview is provided of loss of biodiversity, social effects, and energy deficits. If population had stabilized at 1940s levels of 135 million, oil imports would not be necessary. Immigrants have a higher fertility rate and contribute 700,000 or more births yearly. A moratorium on immigration would give billions of dollars in relief. 11 fallacies are identified that are used to thwart immigration reduction and population stabilization efforts.
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  20. 20

    [The use of water: a critical focus on the population-environment-resources relationship] El uso del agua: un enfoque critico de la relacion poblacion-ambiente-recursos.

    Vargas Velazquez S

    PAPELES DE POBLACION. 1998 Jan-Mar; 4(15):177-92.

    The case of the Laja River basin in Mexico illustrates the argument that over exploitation of water resources must be analyzed in broader terms than mere population growth. The work begins with an examination of the persistence in Mexico of a Malthusian focus in works on the relationship between population growth and the carrying capacity of river basins. Theoretical focuses that include social, cultural, and economic characteristics as well as physical factors in definitions of environment assume a systemic perspective that makes possible examination of relations between regional social systems and natural systems. The Laja basin was selected for study because of its high degree of internal ecological diversity, wide variety of agricultural systems, and multiple conflicts over water use. In the past three decades, with introduction of deep well technology and policies to promote a cheap food supply, a dualist agricultural economy has developed in which large producers growing commercial and export crops coexist with subsistence farmers who have probably reduced their use of irrigation. The river basin is deteriorating due to over exploitation of all natural resources and rapid demographic growth stemming from regional industrialization. The region has arrived at critical limits in only a few years, with the local population little involved in the process. The case suggests that proposals to stem deterioration of water resources cannot rely solely on technical solutions, but must involve achievement of consensus between the parties involved.
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  21. 21

    [Man and water] L'homme et l'eau.

    Collomb P; Levy ML; Belle P

    Population et Societes. 1995 Feb; (298):1-4.

    Land availability has attracted more attention than potential shortages of fresh water as a problem of population growth. Fresh water is indispensable to life. Only about 1% of the earth's water is fresh and available for use. Of the 119,000 cu. km of water falling as precipitation each year, over half returns unused to the sea and one-eighth falls far from human population. Under current technical and demographic conditions, the upper limit of capacity in effectively utilizable renewable water does not exceed 15,000 cu. km per year, or 2500 cu. m per capita per year. An estimated 2.5 liters of water per day are necessary to meet strictly metabolic requirements. Domestic needs have been estimated at 100 liters per day or 40 cu. m per year in the most developed countries. The world average consumption is 52 cu. m, but the range is from less than 6 cu. m in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bangladesh to over 200 in the US and over 800 in Australia. On average, agricultural consumption is eight times greater than domestic consumption, at 444 cu. m per inhabitant. Agricultural consumption ranges from 216 cu. m in Africa to 912 in North America. Industrial consumption averages three times domestic consumption but is unevenly distributed. Availability of fresh water is even more unequal than consumption. Water consumption more than tripled between 1950 and 1990 because of doubling of world population and increased per capita consumption. Whether a comparable increase can be expected between 1990 and 2050, when world population is projected to double again, is a serious question. It has been estimated that, by 2025, 2.8 to 3.3 billion persons will live in areas of recurring water shortage. The Food and Agriculture Organization projects that by 2025, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tunisia will lose the ability to be self-sustaining in food supply because of water shortages. Several other countries with rapid population growth are also threatened. Some areas of Russia and some zones of Third World megalopolises have irreversibly damaged their water resources. Access to water is of strategic importance. More than 200 rivers and lakes cross international borders, and struggles over control of water will undoubtedly constitute a growing threat. Future strategies to conserve water will include efforts to capture rainwater and to exploit river water more fully before it flows into the sea. Ground water is likely to be the object of serious competition. Unequal distribution of water will in the long run require population redistribution.
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  22. 22

    [Mankind and water] L'homme et l'eau.

    Collomb P; Levy ML; Belle P

    Paris, France, Institut National d'Etudes Demographiques [INED], 1995 Feb. 4 p. (Population et Societes No. 298)

    Water constitutes 80% of the earth's surface. It is an essential factor for development. Of all renewable resources on the planet, fresh water is the most intractable. Fresh water represents only 2.5% of all water in the world. If one includes the fresh water in polar ice caps and glaciers, it makes up 1%. All life on earth has access to only 47,000 sq. km of renewable water each year. Most of this water returns to the sea unused. An eighth falls far away from inhabited areas. So the high limit of renewable water used under technical and actual demographic conditions is 15,000 sq. km/year (2500 sq. m/person/ year). 2.5 l of water/person/day is the amount needed to satisfy just metabolic demands. In developed countries, the demand is 100 l/person/day (e.g., toilets require 8-10 l for each flush). Water consumption ranges from less than 6 to more than 800 sq. m/year/person (52 sq. m/year/person). Fresh water use is as unequal as consumption. California uses 10,000 sq. m of water/persons/year, yet it has a semi-arid climate. It is depleting its groundwater resources. Water consumption has increased 230% between 1950 and 1990. Population growth is increasing the number of countries surpassing water scarcity thresholds. Almost 80 countries now suffer from water shortages during some points of the year. 28 countries are familiar with chronic shortages. Some areas of the world already have universal deterioration of water resources. Access to fresh water is of strategic importance. More than 200 river and lake basins cross international borders. Israel exercises strict control on water usage in Jordan. Bangladesh is asking the international community to finance dams in India and Nepal to control the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers which often bring fatal floods. The solution to these problems will arise from political, economic, and technical cooperation and demographic policy.
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  23. 23

    The future of populous economies. China and India shape their destinies.

    Livernash R

    ENVIRONMENT. 1995 Jul-Aug; 37(6):6-11, 25-34.

    Population in 1995 was about 1.2 billion in China and about 935 million in India. Populations are expected to reach respectively 1.5 billion and 1.4 billion by 2025. These two countries now and in the future will average about 35% of total world population. This article compares the current and expected demographic, economic, and environmental conditions in China and India. How these countries manage their growth, poverty, and population will affect the region and the world as well as each nation. China's fertility is now below replacement but population momentum will increase population by about 300 million/year. India's fertility is 3.6 children/woman and India will add 450 million/year. China's population over 60 years old will reach 20% by 2020, while India's will be under 15% in 2025. China will be almost 55% urban by 2025 from 30% in the 1990s, and India will be 45% urban from 27% urban. China's economic growth has averaged over 9%/year compared to India's 5% annual growth during the 1980s and the economic decline during the 1990s. China has 12% of rural population living below the poverty line and India has about 33% of its total population impoverished. China's life expectancy is about 10 years higher. Under-five mortality is 43/1000 live births in China and 131/1000 in India. Poverty-related diseases are still high in India. China is a homogenous population with an authoritarian regime. India is a democracy with a large nongovernmental community and a heterogenous population. India has about 33% of the land area of China but over twice the agricultural land per person. About 50% of China's land and only 25% of India's land is irrigated. Water resources are problems in northern China and much of India. Air and water pollution are problems in both countries. Differences in the population-environment-development context are discussed in terms of the effects of poverty, the constraints posed by development, and the environmental impact of rising per capita consumption. It is concluded that India faces the more difficult future.
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  24. 24

    The world's water woes.

    Hinrichsen D

    INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE. 1996 Jul-Aug; 22-7.

    The Syr Darya River used to broaden into a rich delta at Kazalinsk, a town in central Asia's Kazakhstan, then dump into the Aral Sea, formerly the world's fourth largest lake. The Syr Darya River was once home to many species of fish and fowl, and a region of productive tugai forests. The river and lake, however, began shrinking in the 1960s as Soviet engineers and hydrologists siphoned off large amounts of water to irrigate cotton fields in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in a drive to meet the Communist government's 5-year planning objectives regardless of environmental costs. By 1990, the Aral Sea had lost 66% of its original volume and the Syr Darya River now usually disappears into the desert west of town. Almost 1 million hectares of tugai wetlands were converted into desert between 1960 and 1990. Even though little remains alive in the Syr Darya as it passes through Kazalinsk, and what water remains is highly polluted by farms and cities to the east, the people of Kazalinsk still depend upon the Syr Darya for drinking water and other daily water needs, despite the health risks. Considerable morbidity in the region is attributed to this contaminated water supply. Water resources are being wasted everywhere in the interest of development. Like Syr Darya, and even in the US, many of the world's rivers no longer reach their former deltas. China especially has problems to resolve given its huge population and rapidly developing economic base. Approximately 300 major cities across northern and central China, including Beijing, already have critical water shortages. Wars may develop over access to freshwater sources. Water concerns in Egypt and the Jordan River Basin are noted.
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  25. 25

    Sharing the rivers. Overview.

    Postel S

    PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. 1996; 5(3):6-9.

    Globally, water use has more than tripled since 1950, and the answer to this rising demand generally has been to build more and bigger water supply projects, particularly dams and river diversions. As population and consumption levels grow, more and more rivers are being dammed, diverted, or overtapped to supply increasing volumes of water to cities, industries, and farms. Among these rivers are the Nile in northeast Africa, the Ganges in south Asia, the Amu Dar'ya and Syr Dar'ya in the Aral Sea basin, the Huang He (Yellow River) in China, and the Colorado. Subsequently, such massive change in the global aquatic environment generated deterioration, decline, and in some cases, collapse in aquatic systems. In addition, competition for water is increasing not only between the human economy and the natural environment, but also between and within countries. Water scarcity is a potential source of conflict. Forces such as the depletion of resources; population growth; and unequal distribution or access can create political conflicts. Achieving more sustainable patterns of water use, restoring and maintaining the integrity of river systems, and cooperation within and between countries will not only protect the aquatic environment, but also avert conflict.
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