Blocking off water courses Creating dams Constructing dams
Many governments still rely on the construction of conventional dams and large diversion projects to relieve regional water stress and water shortage. However, such projects, with their engineering complexities, threats of ecological disruption, multibillion-dollar price tags, and long lead times, do not offer much hope that water will be delivered in time and at reasonable cost. In the developing world, unless deforestation and erosion are stopped and irrigation systems better managed, large projects may waste capital, undermine the productivity of the soil and also displace the indigenous population. Furthermore, even the most ambitious schemes will not definitively solve regional water problems. The best any dam or diversion project can do is to slow down the depletion of supplies or delay the occurrence of shortages. In such cases, it would be much less costly to encourage the growth of human settlements in places where adequate water supplies are available or effectively reduce water demand through demand management.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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