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Water scarcity - Aug 23

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Map details global water stress

BBC
The alarming extent of water scarcity across the world is detailed in a map compiled by a leading environmental think tank.
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It shows two key types of scarcity; water is said to be either physically scarce or economically scarce.

The map appears in a report by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) on the use of water in agriculture.

Agricultural activities consume most water on a worldwide basis.

This is due to the enormous amounts needed to produce food.
(21 Aug 2006)


Need for Water Could Double in 50 Years, U.N. Study Finds

Celia W. Dugger, NY Times
More than two billion people already live in regions facing a scarcity of water, and unless the world changes its ways over the next 50 years, the amount of water needed for a rapidly growing population will double, scientists warned in a study released yesterday.

At the worst, a deepening water crisis would fuel violent conflicts, dry up rivers and increase groundwater pollution, their report says. It would also force the rural poor to clear ever more grasslands and forests to grow food and leave many more people hungry.

The report, which draws on the research of more than 400 hydrologists, agronomists and other scientists, was sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the world’s premier network of agricultural research centers, among others.

The authors of the report, “Water for Good, Water for Life: Insights from the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture,” concluded that countries confronting severe water shortages cannot simply employ the same strategies for increasing food production that have had dramatic success over the past half-century.
(22 Aug 2006)


Scientists Call for Water Conservation

Associated Press via ENN
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Scientists on Monday called for radical action to improve global water management, saying one-third of the world's population faces water scarcity.

A report released at the start of the World Water Week said more efficient use of the world's water resources was needed to reduce poverty and environmental damage.

The five-year study led by the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute said a key priority was improving water management in agriculture in developing countries, particularly rain-fed farms on Africa's savannas.

Its recommendations including building more water storage, better irrigation systems and developing drought-resistant crops.

"The last 50 years of water management practices are no model for the future when it comes to dealing with water scarcity," said Frank Rijsberman, head of the IWMI.

"We need radical change in the institutions and organizations responsible for managing our earth's water supplies and a vastly different way of thinking about water management."

The report, drawing from the contributions of more than 700 scientists, was presented at the annual water week organized in the Swedish capital by the Stockholm International Water Institute. More than 1,500 experts from 140 countries and U.N. agencies are attending.
(22 Aug 2006)
Related: Water scarcity affects one in three

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