It is highly likely that water management practices and processes will change more during the next 20 years compared to the past 2000 years. Traditionally, during the past five decades, factors like population growth and urbanization have driven water requirements. During the next 20 years, forces driving water management are likely to be different. Population growth rates all over the world have steadily declined in recent years, and in many developed countries, total populations are actually declining. In about half a century, for the first time in human history, the global population is expected to stabilize. For the first time in human history, the debate on the global birth rate is now over when, and not whether, it will fall below the replacement level. Urbanization will continue in the developing world, but a new set of overarching forces are likely to arise in the future, on which the water profession will have limited or no contril, and which has mostly been neglected thus far. Among these new complexities will be the following:
The factors noted above, as well as other issues will radically change water availability, use and demand patterns and management practices during the next two decades. The Centre is currently working on a series of future-oriented analyses which are likely to affect the water sector significantly in the future.