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close this bookFreshwater Resources in Arid Lands (UNU, 1997, 94 p.)
close this folder1: Fresh water - A scarce resource in arid lands
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentInternational efforts
View the documentFresh water - A limited resource
View the documentA personal history
View the documentTraditional wisdom
View the documentProblems of major continental aquifers
View the documentThe Aral crisis - Ecocide in arid lands
View the documentHydropolitics along the Jordan river basin and the Dead Sea
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences


We now have a large variety of advanced technologies. In connection with water resources, progress in remote sensing technology and geographic information systems (GIS) is giving us more global access to hidden resources. Progress in environmental engineering gives us more chances to recycle used and waste water. Desalination technology is advancing quickly, and utilization of solar energy for water lifting is a dream no more.

However, the scarcity of fresh water in arid lands is an inescapable reality. Under those physical circumstances, the legal aspects of water rights are very complicated. In some regions, there is no perception of the economic value of irrigation water. Furthermore, women carry a disproportionately high burden in transporting water in arid lands. To meet the rapid growth of the world population, we are now obliged to spend more efforts to conserve precious freshwater resources for our children. This is a matter not only of technical decision-making but also of political decision-making for the eternal peaceful use of fresh water. In this sense, international and national organizations concerned with freshwater resources are now becoming very important and responsible. On every level (global, continental, zonal, regional, national, local), we have to learn from our ancestors' wisdom and combine it with today's sophisticated technology to meet the challenge of sustainable development of freshwater resources.