Even though water policy has generally been considered to be an important issue, its rational formulation and implementation have basically received lip service in the past. Water policies in the 21st century must consider the important changes that have occurred during the past decade, and also the changes that are likely to occur in the coming years. All water policies have risks and uncertainties associated with them. The main changes and constraints are analysed. Water policies cannot be static: they should be considered to be a journey and not a destination. Future policies must address rapidly diversifying social interests and agendas that are likely to be awash in chaos, conicting views, rapid technological changes, globalization, relentless economic competition, political uncertainties and steadily increasing human aspirations. Theoretical and conceptual approaches, irrespective of their attractiveness, are not enough, unless they can be operationalized. This will not be an easy task, but one that must be undertaken.
By Asit K. Biswas, 2001. Article published in International Journal of Water Resources Development, Volume 17, Issue 4, pages 489-499. DOI: 10.1080/07900620120094082