IWMI’s water scarcity map for the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (CA)

Water scarcity is high on the development agenda. IWMI’s work through WaterSim for the Comprehensive Assessment on Water Management in Agriculture (CA) (see MTP Project 12 MTP 2006-2008, “Future water scenarios defined and explored” under Output 1) influenced this agenda by creating greater awareness on water scarcity, both within and outside the water community. In particular, the global map depicting water scarce areas, with statistics on people in water scarce basins and suggestions for tackling water scarcity (in Annex 1) provided a geographical context and focus to dialogues and development agendas. For example, the theme of the UN World Water Day in 2007 was ‘coping with water scarcity’, and IWMI’s water scarcity map featured prominently in its main brochure (Annex 3). The map and the CA messages also featured in top national and international media, during the World Water Week and thereafter.

In addition to the water and development sectors, several newspapers, news websites, and radio/TV broadcasts featured in-depth articles on water scarcity using IWMI’s work. Printed media coverage included New Scientist, Financial Times, The Economist, New York Times, Washington Post, Liberation (France), Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), Der Spiegel (Germany), Daily Nation (Kenya), La Stampa (Italy), and El Mundo (Spain). In addition, several news agencies covered the water scarcity issue, including Associated Press, Agence France Press, Reuters, Xinhua News Service, and United Press International (Annex 2). Web coverage included major news sites including ABCNews.com, CBSNews.com, Yahoo! News, Le Monde Online, ScientificAmerican.com, Economist.com, BBCworld.com, Forbes.com, New Scientist.com, Science Now and SciDev.net. (Annex 4). Print and online media (including Reuters, New Scientist and The Economist) wrote in-depth pieces on the global water scarcity problem, highlighting findings and policy solutions from the CA. (Annex 2). The Financial Times published two stories on water scarcity and organized an “Ask the Experts” online forum in which Frank Rijsberman participated. Major TV and radio news networks (including CNN, Reuters, BBC, Deutsche Welle) broadcasted stories to audiences worldwide.

IWMI’s reprint request process, by granting copyright permission to potential user requests, also indicates how the broader awareness created by the media coverage is being adopted by a diverse group of users to reach an even more diverse audience from policy makers to research institutions and other educators to the private sector at global and national scales. This has been through the adoption of the water scarcity map in policy publications, incorporation in documents of key international conventions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, reproduction in university and secondary school textbooks and online reference portals and in discussion documents for private sector organizations (Annexes 5a & 5b).