The Challenge

Managing the world’s water resources is foundational to development. If you want to feed the world—and contribute to poverty reduction, human health, and economic prosperity—pay attention to water.

The challenge is daunting: how can we feed a burgeoning population? The planet consists of 70% of salt water. Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater, and of this, about 1,5% is accessible. In other words, it’s not locked up in glaciers or in deep aquifers. Agriculture already uses some 70% of the world’s water. So if food production has to increase to feed today’s population (not to mention tomorrow’s), the stress on water resources will only get worse. How will we meet our energy needs? Again, it's about water. How will we eliminate many diseases? Water again.

Water is a finite resource. The same water continuously circulates around the planet in what is known as the water cycle. But it’s not just about supply--how much water there is and how clean it is. Water resources management is about a host of issues such as government policy, financing, allocation, transboundary conflict, and the ecosystem. So... let's talk water.

Posted: 2010-03-22

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