The real crisis is not oil
Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, peoplehave moved to settle close to water.
We need it for drinking, for cooking, for washing, for food, for industry, for energy, for transport, for rituals, for fun, for life. And it is not only wehumans who need it; all life is dependent on water to survive.But we stand today on the brink of a global water crisis. The two major legacies of the 20th Century - the population and technologicalexplosions - have taken their toll on our water supply.
Firstly, more and more freshwater sources are being used-up and contaminated. Water is the most important single element needed in order forpeople to achieve the universal human right to "a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family. Without access to clean water, health and well-being are notonly severely jeopardized, they are impossible: people without basic water supplies live greatly reduced and impoverished lives - with little opportunity to create better futures for their children.Secondly, modern technologies have allowed us to harness much of the world's water for energy, industry and irrigation - but often at a terrible social and environmental price - and manytraditional water conservation practices have been discarded along the way.
The world's growing population should be seen not only as one of the causes of the water crisis, but also as the sourceof its solution. In most cases, however, the practical solutions required are local, reflecting the geographically and culturally specific nature of water-use. The United States, the second most"dammed" nation, after China, is already breaching many of its dams; elsewhere, particularly in the developing world, the question is how to provide the services supplied by dam projects through other...