Out of Water

By Colin Chartres , Samyuktha Varma
Published May 10, 2010 by FT Press .

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Contacts for media requests 

Colin John Chartres :
c.chartres @ cgiar.org 
Samyuktha Varma : samyuktha.varma @ cgiar.org
Megan Covert : +1 301 652 1558 or
Jeff Haskins : +254729871422 or

From Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World’s Water Problems

From cities to biofuels, competition for water is accelerating. Climate change threatens to intensify the onset and severity of the water crisis in several regions of the developing world: this is already happening throughout much of Asia, the Mediterranean, southwestern Australia, and the southwestern US. Along with water shortages, unsafe water becomes an increasingly widespread problem, too.

As water crises trigger food and health crises, billions may slip further into poverty, leading to greater social and political unrest, new wars, and worsening national security. Out of Water doesn’t just illuminate the coming global water crisis: it presents innovative solutions in agriculture, engineering, governance, and beyond, including state-of-the art techniques for integrated water management. This book will help raise the level of debate about water to the highest levels of government, and identify workable reforms and incentives to help water users utilize this crucial resource far more efficiently.



Colin’s STRAIGHTtalk on 6 critical solutions to water scarcity and food security


Brief: How to Avert a Water Crisis A Six-Point Plan Water, agriculture and food security in the developing world.
Brief: How to Avert a Water Crisis A Six-Point Plan 
Water, agriculture and food security in the developing world. 

Watch this presentation made at the University of Leeds UK.

Image gallery
A woman sells leafy vegetables grown with wastewater irrigation in Hyderabad , India. Efforts to improve the regulation of wastewater use in agriculture at an international level have been spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Water Management Institute(IWMI).  Photo credit: Sanjini de Silva
A woman in her wetland vegetable plot in the Limpopo River Basin. Wetlands are important ecosystems, central to the lives of many rural communities in Africa and Asia, who depend on them for their food and livelihoods. Photo credit : IWMI South Africa
Farmer in West Bengal, India, pump groundwater to water their crops. The rise of groundwater irrigation in South Asia has put control of water in the hands of farmers and helped many improve their income and livelihoods. However the downside is overexploitation of the resource resulting in a rapid decline of water tables. Photo credit : Aditi Mukerji
Checking the depth of an irrigation canal in the Ferghana valley,Central Asia. Expanding the area of irrigated land and improving the productivity of existing irrigated land can help meet additional food demands in the  next 40 years.
Small scale irrigation project in Ethiopia. Adapting to climate change requires similar responses as when adapting to water scarcity. One option is small scale tanks or reservoirs for water harvesting for supplementary irrigation in drier regions. Photo credit: Hugh Turral.
Irrigation canal in India. Many Asian irrigation systems are ageing and in need of significant rehabilitation. The status of irrigation systems and their productivity must be reviewed by governments if food targets are to be met. Photo credit : Jean -Phillipe Venot
The dried up river bed of the Great Ruaha river in Tanzania. Every year, the river stops flowing during the dry season, causing much hardship to downstream communities as well as to the fauna and flora that inhabit a nearby national park. The Ruaha flows through the country’s main rice growing area which produces up to 24% of the nation’s rice. Water from the Ruaha also provides 50% of Tanzania’s installed hydropower capacity. Photo credit: Bruce Lankford of University of East Anglia.
Women farmers in Africa come together. The productive contribution of women’s labor in agriculture and food production needs more attention. Many efforts at poverty alleviation have left women out of the decision making process. Recognizing the role of women in Agriculture is a fundamental requirement for water governance. Photo credit: IWMI South Africa.
Fishers on the Mekong River in Cambodia. River Basin Institutions such as the Mekong River Commission(MRC) are working to harmonize the interests of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam as approximately 60 million people live along the  banks of the Mekong and  depend on the river for their survival. Photo credit: Kim Gehab
An irrigation canal in Cambodia provides water for multiple uses: agriculture, bathing, water for domestic purposes, fishing and recreation.