World Water Week

In: Uncategorized

22 Aug 2006

The idea of a global water shortage seems particularly odd. There is so much of it in the world and it is the ultimate recyclable commodity – once it is used it can often easily be reused. Yet much of the reporting of the World Water Week in Stockholm suggests there is a global water shortage.

The idea of a water shortage is certainly being pushed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). A press release from the organisation quotes Jamie Pittock, director of WWF’s Global Freshwater Programme, arguing that: “Economic riches don’t translate to plentiful water.” But surely they do. It is hard to imagine the inhabitants of Arizona or Texas having to do without water.

There also other hints at how resources could help develop water supplies. A press release from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (PDF) quotes Frank Rijsberman, director general of the International Water Management Institute, saying: “one billion people live in river basins where water is economically scarce – water is available in rivers and aquifers, but the infrastructure is lacking to make this water available to people.” In such cases surely the solution is to build the necessary infrastructure? Rijsberman does make substantial concessions to environmentalist thinking but these cannot be examined here. Something to examine for the future.