Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • 'Soft path' solution to 21st-century water needs

Shares

Water is now a key concern worldwide. A billion people lack access to safe supplies, and every year an estimated 5 million die from water-related diseases.

In this article, Peter H. Gleick of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, in California, United States, welcomes the 'soft path' solution to meeting 21st-century demands for water. The 20th-century approach building massive infrastructure such as dams benefited billions, but at the cost of freshwater species loss and human displacement, as happened with China's Three Gorges Dam project. Cheap, efficient, small-scale and ecologically sound projects are, Gleick says, a real possibility.

The challenges are immense. Aside from demand, investment in water projects is down worldwide, and conflicts over water are increasing. More money, recycling, and protection for our freshwater resources are needed as is decisiveness. We cannot follow both paths, says Gleick.

Link to full article in Science 

Reference: Science 302, 1524 (2003)

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.