Seven international water experts were asked to discuss certain fundamental water-management problems. It was agreed that water shortage is a medium-term constraint requiring attention when deciding on policies for economic development within the resource base. Wise policies include best use of local rain, a top level national water authority, and transport of food rather than water. Point disposal of toxic wastes should be considered a deliberate illegal act. Since treatment technology is generally available, the main problem is unwillingness to bear the cost. Water pollution originating from land use is best met by merging land-use and water management policies. The present tendency to meet growing domestic or international water disputes is by negotiation rather than by confrontation. Critical to the problems discussed is to ensure that decision makers and the general public have an adequate understanding of mankind’s long-term dependence on life-supporting systems, and of the fundamental role of the water cycle in these systems.
By Malin Falkenmark, Asit K. Biswas, Hiroshi Hori, Tamon Ishibashi, George Kovacs, Peter Rogers and Hillel I. Shuval, 1987. Article published in Ambio, Volume 16, Number 4, pages 191-200.