June 1, 2005
After decades of neglect, water has recently become a part of the international political agenda. However, the focus of the debate on the global water crisis is still wrong. The main crisis is unlikely to come from water scarcity, though some countries will find it difficult to manage such problems. Instead, it is likely to come from continuing and rapid water quality deterioration, and the availability of investment funds. Neither of these two issues is being adequately reflected in global water debates. In addition, the targets of the water-related Millennium Development Goals are unlikely to be achieved universally by 2015, until and unless consumers pay for the water services they receive. The subsidies should be very specifically targeted to the poor.