|Table of Contents | EHN Homepage | AAAS Homepage|
As we move rapidly towards the new millennium we markedly increase the magnitude of human impacts on the Earthís ecological systems. The rates and types of human-induced changes which are being made to the planetís natural systems are faster and more acute than ever before. In some cases, even now, the human impacts exceed the Earthís capacity to absorb them.
Two of the most important variables in this context are human population growth and consumption, and their effect on water resources worldwide. These variables cannot be overlooked as we lay the groundwork for the environmental life-support of future generations of humans, and plant and animal species.
In order to adequately address water and population issues in light of fast-paced global changes, we need to better understand the relationship between the two in scientific and policy terms.
This book, ìWater and Population Dynamics: Case Studies and Policy Implicationsî, represents a significant step in that direction. It helps to increase our comprehension of the issues as they manifest themselves in various sites, on the ground, and particularly in the developing world.
This publication is the result of several years of work on the subject. Efforts began in 1995 when the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided funding for a collaborative Initiative between the Social Policy Group of IUCN-The World Conservation Union and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), to study the relationship between water resources and population dynamics in the developing world.
Through that Initiative, nine country teams (listed below), each including a water resource specialist and a population specialist, were recruited by the IUCN. The teams produced case studies on the population variables and water resources in a community, project area or river basin in their country. On completion of their research, they were joined by a multidisciplinary team of experts to present their findings at a workshop at the IUCNís World Conservation Congress in Montreal, Canada, in October, 1996. This book contains proceedings from that workshop.
It was preceded by a 34-page companion booklet, titled "Water and Population Dynamics: Local Approaches to a Global Challenge" which was published by the IUCN, PRB and USAID in Fall, 1997. The booklet summarizes the workshopís major findings, recommendations from the case studies, and discussions.
This publication complements and expands on the summary booklet. It includes a foreword by Malin Falkenmark (who attended the Montreal meeting as an issue expert); a new, updated introductory chapter by IUCNís Alex de Sherbinin; two expertsí overview papers; and the nine case studies in their entirety.
The overviews include a paper written by Michael Acreman presenting ten principles of water management relating to population and the environment; and a paper by Basia Zaba and Ndalahwa Madulu using illustrations from northern Tanzania to discuss water use, needs and availability, its relationship to human population, and adaptations for more efficient use of scarce resources.
The case studies appear in their entirety in sections as grouped below:
I. Aquatic Ecosystems: The Challenge of Conservation
(reports from Guatemala, Jordan, and Zambia)
II. International River Basins: Balancing Rising Demand and Finite Supply
(reports from Bangladesh, Mali, and Southern Africa)
III. Local Participation in Water Management: Empowering Communities to Take the Lead
(reports from India, Morocco, and Pakistan)
Together the studies help provide background on water and population dynamics from different perspectives: from the community-based initiatives for managing water resources, to those which look at regional, national and sub-regional and sub-national levels, to conservation problems, approaches and lessons learned.
Also of significance in this publication are those items which appear in the Appendix section. In particular the discussion topics and meeting agenda, developed by de Sherbinin in preparation for the Montreal meeting, helped the workshop participants to frame their thinking, professional experience and data analysis so the discussions were applicable cross-regionally. PRBís demographic and water resource data tables from the nine countries provide an excellent quick-reference for the reader.
As a representative of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) International Directorateís Program on Population and Sustainable Development (PSD), I was involved in the Initiative as a participant in the Montreal workshop, and as editor of the proceedings for this book.
AAAS is interested in this impressive IUCN-PRB-USAID Initiative because we believe it is a major contribution to policy and field-relevant science on population and environmental topics. Relatively little scientific research has been undertaken on these subjects as one interrelated topic, and we feel that this project has made a groundbreaking contribution in that regard.
We are particularly grateful to the USAID Center for Population, Health and Nutrition, and the Population-Environment Fellows Program at the University of Michigan, who provided generous and invaluable support for the Initiative and this publication.
AAAS Program on Ecology and Human Needs (formerly Population and Sustainable Development)
Sources: Vitousek, Science, v277, 1997; Gillespie, USAID, Summary Booklet.
|Table of Contents | EHN Homepage | AAAS Homepage|