Today, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Within the next 25 years, fully one-third of the world's population will experience severe water scarcity. It is clear that disparities in the availability and supply of fresh water are truly a matter of life and death, and constitute one of the great governance imperatives of our time.
This publication summarizes the results of three decades of IDRC-supported research on water supply. It demonstrates that some of the most powerful responses to water scarcities have been mounted at the community or local level - in households, farmers' fields, villages, and city neighbourhoods. With a focus on research findings, and failures, this book presents solidly grounded propositions for decisionmakers and for researchers. It goes on to form a series of clear and pointed recommendations for policy design and future research efforts, and concludes with an eye to the future of water supply and a presentation of some of the key resources in the field.
The book also serves as the focal point for an IDRC thematic Web site on water: http://www.idrc.ca/water. The full text is available online and leads the reader into a true web of resources that represent IDRC's thirty years of experience in water-related research.
David B. Brooks is a specialist in natural resources who works with the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada. Dr Brooks has a background in geology and economics and was the founding director of Canada's Office of Energy Conservation. Dr Brooks worked for six years with Friends of the Earth and then for five years as a principal with the firm of Marbek Resource Consultants Ltd. His main research interests lie in ways to move toward more sustainable development in the production and use of minerals, energy, and water. His most recent books are Watershed: The Role of Fresh Water in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (1994), which he coauthored, Management of Water Demand in Africa and the Middle East (1997), which he coedited, and Water Balances in the Eastern Mediterranean (2000), which he also coedited.