Reimagining Water Management

Writings on water crises due extreme droughts and floods, frequent and longer heat waves, wildfires, sea level rises and climate change issues, have become a growth industry. Putting “water crisis” in Google brings 570 million results! Yet, in-depth analysis of water crisis indicates that this crisis is not because of physical lack of this resource but due to poor management over decades. Even in the most advanced country, USA, some 40 million people in Colorado River Basin are facing now a serious crisis since water is still being managed with 19th-century laws and hydraulic infrastructure and water management practices of first half of 20th century. Not surprisingly, these old practices cannot cope with the changed conditions and uncertainties of the second quarter of 21st century. People’s perceptions of and attitudes to water have also changed remarkably. Currently, 60% of Italians and South Koreans, 38% of Americans and 31% of Canadians use bottled water as a primary water source, even though tap water is perfectly safe to drink. This article discusses how water management needs to be reimagined so that there is enough of this resource not only for now but also by 2100.

By Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada, 2023. Article published in International Journal of Water Resources Development, Volume 39, Number 4, pages 549-556. DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2023.2222989

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