397 pages, diagrams
Water scarcity in this dry region limits development possibilities and reduces the scope for economic diversification. The rapid economic growth of recent decades has increased water requirements beyond naturally sustainable levels. Inappropriate policies and technological solutions have placed the emphasis on meeting demand, instead of harnessing resources and managing water use. Depletion of groundwater is now common to most parts of this region, and there is also a high reliance on costly non-conventional alternatives. The 17 papers contained in this book address different aspects of this acute problem, with emphasis on policy issues and on the need for structural change. The papers review policy experiences in several of the countries and analyse supply and resource constraints as well as water- using sectors. The social and economic ramifications of current water policies are considered and issues of policy reform are explored. Water resource planning and policy, environmental considerations, food security issues, state subsidies for agriculture and water, urban supply, regulatory institutions, demand management and development policy objectives are all themes that run through this multi-disciplinary book. The papers in this book indicate that without a coherent and integrated set of institutional and policy measures, further investment and new technologies may offer more problems than solutions.
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