|Going Forward: Water Stewardship - Overview|
Water stress is likely to be one of the most important challenges of the 21st Century. There is no one “solution.” Rather, it will take a unique mix of different types of responses, implemented at a variety of levels, to address this both intensely local and broadly global problem. Every locality and country brings to the table its own specific needs, and its own capacities for action. This issue affects us all, and what we do as individuals and as nations can have repercussions far beyond our borders.
Water stewardship depends on actions taken not only by direct stakeholders – those engaged in the extraction, treatment, delivery, consumption, finance, and regulation of water – but also by society more broadly. Successful stewardship will also require attention to overlapping problems, such as issues relating to energy, conflict management, education, environment, and food.
The solutions are not only about new technologies. Engineers can only get us part of the way. People must be inspired to think differently about water. Individuals and organizations must be inspired to behave differently in their use of water. This inspiration may come in the form of changes in values and attitudes; it may be in response to price signals; it may be in the form of laws, regulations and enforcement. The most workable solutions will take into account all these factors. And sometimes the solutions themselves will cause new problems.
In this section…