Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Water Supply, RAND Study

A major study has just been released by RAND about water, from which we will draw some direction in the coming year as we study the water supply and demand locally. Here is an excerpt and a link to information about either downloading it for free as a pdf document or purchsing it.

“In the last 70 years, the world’s population has tripled in size while going from overwhelmingly rural to a near balance of urban and rural—a change that affects both how humans use water and the amount they consume.

“In the late 1980’s, concern over a potential water crisis began to grow. Much of the resulting literature has taken an alarmist view. Numerous reports sensationalized the so-called water crisis without taking into account the local or regional nature of water resources and the relationship between supply and demand. A number of factors are cited to support the position that the earth is headed toward a water crisis. They include the following:

The human population continues to grow.

Water withdrawals are outpacing population growth.

Per-capita water availability is declining.

Clean, potable water is less available worldwide.

“However, calculations of water resources rely on factors that are difficult to measure. It is important to consider the following:

Water supply and demand are difficult to measure accurately.

Water management plays an important role in the supply of and demand for water.

Population forecasts are changeable.

“Given these limitations, predictions of water scarcity may be overstated. At the same time, the risk of a water shortage remains.”

RAND. (2005). Liquid Assets: (pp. xiii-xiv)

For further information: http://www.rand.org/publications/MG/MG358/