Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Overview.
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)