The results suggest that the situation is far more urgent than has been thought--one third of the world's population is already affected by water scarcity--and the future more grim. The authors call for immediate change in water policies, singling out more efficient irrigation and wastewater reuse as the top priorities. However, there will be tough choices even with the best water management policies, says David Molden, a hydrologist at IWMI who led the study.
The breadth and depth of the report are impressive, says David Brooks, an environmental scientist at Friends of the Earth in Ottawa, Canada, who has read a draft. Brooks says the new report "goes beyond food production to identify links to human health and to rural poverty," whereas previous efforts have had a "rather narrow emphasis on agricultural technology and production efficiency.
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