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  1. 1
    292204

    Water for thirsty cities is demand management the solution?

    Ray K

    Habitat Debate. 2000; 6(3):[4] p..

    Africa and Asia are the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world. The city authorities in these regions are often overwhelmed by this growth and the burgeoning pressure on public services. A recent report of the United Nations Secretary General states that at the current rate of progress, providing safe water to all cannot be anticipated before 2050 in Africa and 2025 in Asia. That is still a generation away! In the meantime, those without access to public supplies — the urban poor — will continue to pay a heavy price for lack of easy access to safe water. Let us take a closer look at the situation in Africa which is the fastest urbanizing continent today. Africa’s urban population will nearly quadruple from 138 million in 1990 to 500 million by 2020. How is it managing its growing urban water demand from the competing industrial, commercial and domestic sectors? The answer is not simple. The task of the city manager is made more complex by the fact that most of the rapidly growing cities are located in water stress or water scarce regions, with diminishing per capita water availability. Several of the larger cities on the continent (Johannesburg, Dakar and Nairobi, for example), have outgrown the capacity of local sources and are forced to carry water from a distance of 200 to 600 kilometres. Others (such as Abidjan, Lusaka and Addis Ababa) are drawing deeper and deeper, often over-abstracting the ground aquifers. (excerpt)
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  2. 2
    292203

    Water crisis linked to poor governance, says Toepfer.

    Habitat Debate. 2000; 6(3):[4] p..

    Cities concentrate people in high-density settlements creating severe demand for services like water supply and sanitation. It is really a matter of concern that some 95 per cent of the urban population increase over the next 30 years will be in less developed countries. Out of 19 megacities of the world, 15 are in developing countries. Cities are increasingly forced to transport water from longer distances, often beyond natural watersheds and even across national boundaries, as in the case of Johannesburg. In other cases, over-exploitation of groundwater has resulted in major environmental problems. Mexico City, for example, has sunk more than 10 metres in the last 70 years. Thailand is facing irreversible damage to freshwater aquifers from saltwater intrusion, caused by over-abstraction of groundwater. (excerpt)
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  3. 3
    292209

    Tapping traditional systems of water management.

    Singh N

    Habitat Debate. 2000; 6(3):[4] p..

    In ancient times, water was acknowledged and regarded as a valuable resource. In fact, almost every ancient culture has regarded water as sacred and essential to life. In the 20th Century, however, the advent of the industrial revolution and the consequent dawn of Western materialism have led to a non-traditional commodity-based perception of nature’s resources. This has resulted in a price tag being placed on water and, ironically, a devaluation in the intrinsic worth of water. Western materialistic society scorned ancient values, which regarded nature as sacred. Just as the 20th Century focussed on the importance of oil, the 21st Century is likely to be focussed on issues concerning safe and adequate drinking water. The most important step in the direction of finding solutions to issues of water and environmental conservation is to change people’s attitudes and habits. If the world continues to treat water as a cheap resource that can be wasted, not even the best policies and technologies can help solve the problems. If humanity continues to feel that as long as you can pay for it, water will be there to use and abuse, no major breakthroughs in water conservation can take place. (excerpt)
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