Conventional wisdom says that the world is heading for a major water crisis. By 2050, global population will increase from 7 billion to a staggering 9.5 billion and the demands this will place on food and water systems will inevitably push river basins over the edge.
The findings from this book present a different picture. While it is convenient to visualize an inevitable global water and food crisis in which increasing demands result in increasing poverty, food insecurity and conflict, the reality is far more nuanced and revolves around the politics of equitable and sustainable development of resources.
The first part of this book provides detailed insight into conditions of water flows within nine river basins. In the second part, authors summarize and re-analyze the outcome of the nine basins, providing a coherent global picture of water, water productivity and development. They assess the impacts of variations of these attributes on development and approaches for poverty alleviation, and explore the institutional factors that support or obstruct change.
How people will manage river systems while protecting vital ecosystem functions will make the difference between catastrophe and survival. As Prof Asit Biswas points out, "… the world is facing a water crisis not because of physical scarcity of water but because of poor management practices in nearly all countries of the world."
The book is based on the four years (2006-2010) of extensive research into the state of ten of the world’s major river basins carried out under the CGIAR Challenge Program for Water and Food’s Basin Focal Project.
This book was published as a special issue of Water International.
Acknowledgements. Preface Asit K. Biswas Part 1: The Basin Focal Projects 1. Introduction to Part One 2. The Andes Basins: Biophysical and Developmental Diversity in A Climate of Change 3. The Indus and The Ganges: River Basins under Extreme Pressure 4. The Karkheh River Basin: The Food Basket of Iran Under Pressure 5. Vulnerable Populations, Unreliable Water and Low Water Productivity: A Role for Institutions in the Limpopo Basin 6. The Mekong: A Diverse Basin Facing the Tensions of Development 7. Water, Agriculture and Poverty in The Niger River Basin 8. The Nile Basin: Tapping the Unmet Agricultural Potential of Nile Waters 9. Farming Systems and Food Production in the Volta Basin 10. Yellow River Basin: Living with Scarcity Part 2: Cross-Basin Analysis and Synthesis 11. Water, Food and Poverty: Global – and Basin-Scale – Analysis 12. Water Availability and Use Across the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) Basins 13. Producing More Food with Less Water in a Changing World: Assessment of Water Productivity in 10 Major River Basins 14. The Resilience of Big River Basins 15. The Nature and Impact of Climate Change in the Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) Basins 16. Connections between Poverty, Water and Agriculture: Evidence from 10 River Basins 17. Institutions and Organizations: The Key to Sustainable Management of Resources in River Basins
Most of the world’s water problems, and their solutions, are directly related to policies and governance, both specific to water and in general. Two of the world’s leading journals in this area, the International Journal of Water Resources Development (sponsored by the Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico) and Water International (the official journal of the International Water Resources Association), contribute to this special issues series, aimed at disseminating new knowledge on the policy and governance of water resources to a very broad and diverse readership all over the world. The series should be of direct interest to all policy makers, professionals and lay readers concerned with obtaining the latest perspectives on addressing the world’s many water issues.