Managing scarce water resources
Declining rainfall and an increase in the consumption
of water - mostly for agricultural, but also for urban use - present
difficulties for those who live around the Mediterranean basin.
Increasingly scarce water resources must be used in a sensible
and sustainable way combining experience of water management accumulated
over the millennia with scientific analytical capacity. Research
in this area is a lynchpin of the INCO-Med programme, which is
seeking more efficient means of using water and to produce effective
policies for improving the management of freshwater supplies.
Improvements have to be made with due regard
to local environmental and socio-economic conditions. INCO also
recognises that water supply problems cross boundaries and therefore
it is encouraging regional co-operation and joint approaches to
the problem of scarcity.
With agriculture using between 70-80% of freshwater,
water conservation and reuse are essential. Development of better
irrigation technologies can actually reduce water demand, as can
a better knowledge of crop and plant needs. In the urban environment,
improved water treatment and recycling can make water go a little
further, as can a greater understanding of how run-off takes this
valuable resource away from our towns and cities.