Global water issues today and future perspectives
Although often overshadowed by seemingly more pressing environmental problems, in recent years the issues of the equitable distribution of water resources and the need to provide safe drinking water have come to the fore. Although in the developed world water is often taken for granted and viewed as a limitless resource, approximately one billion people worldwide do not enjoy access to safe drinking water. Taikan Oki, associate professor at Kyoto's Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, examines the emergence of the international effort to devise solutions to water-related problems. Describing the various conferences convened to address water issues, he charts the steady growth of awareness over the past 25 years, culminating in the recent Third World Water Forum held in Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga. Although welcoming increased public attention to the issues, the author fears that factors such as disease, poverty and the population explosion can only serve to exacerbate the existing situation.