The uneven distribution of world water resources and the development of water quality problems are reviewed. The policy options and present status of sectoral uses, especially rural and urban water supply, agriculture, industry, and hydroelectric power are provided on a regional basis for the whole world, with some national information in certain cases. The lack of water development in developing countries is emphasized and possible investment costs are indicated. Social and environmental impacts of water development projects are discussed in detail under three categories of subsystems: physical, biological, and human. The major problem is concluded to be one of instituting more rational management practices rather than that of a Malthusian spectre of impending scarcity.
By Asit K. Biswas, 1979. Article published in Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, Volume 105, Number 2, pages 205-222. DOI: 10.1061/JWRDDC.0000103