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close this bookWater for Urban Areas (UNU, 2000, 243 p.)
close this folder1. Water for urban areas of the developing world in the twenty-first century
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View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPopulation and water
View the documentUrbanization and water
Open this folder and view contentsConstraints on water availability
View the documentConcluding remarks

Concluding remarks

On the basis of the above review, it is evident that the provision of clean water and sanitation to all residents of the urban areas of developing countries will be one of the major challenges of the twenty-first century, the magnitude and the complexity of which no earlier generation has had to face. Regular rhetoric at international forums will not resolve this difficult and complex problem. In the run-up to the twenty-first century, the world really has two choices: to carry on as before with a "business as usual" attitude, which can contribute only incremental changes that would endow future generations with a legacy of inadequate water supply and sewerage services; or to continue in earnest an accelerated effort radically to change the mind-sets of the decision-makers and the water managers so that urban people have access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities within the next generation. It will not be an easy task to accomplish but, given sufficient political will and proper system management, it could be achieved. One is reminded of William Shakespeare's warning: "Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

References

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Biswas, Asit K. 1997b. "Development of a Framework for Water Quality Monitoring in Mexico," Water International, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 179-185.

Biswas, Asit K. and Arar, Abdullah. 1988. Treatment and Reuse of Wastewater, Butterworths, London.

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United Nations. 1988. Population Growth and Policies in Megacities: Karachi, Population Policy Paper No. 13, Department of International Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, New York.

——— 1997. "Comprehensive Assessments of the Freshwater Resources of the World," Report of the Secretary-General, Committee on Sustainable Development, 5th Session, E/CN. 17/1997/9, United Nations, New York.

World Bank, 1992. World Development Report, Oxford University Press, New York.