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TitleWater and poverty in a macro-economic context
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHansen, S, Bhatia, R
Pagination60 p. : 1 fig.
Date Published2004-01-01
PublisherNorway, Ministry of the Environment
Place PublishedOslo, Norway
Keywordsagriculture, economic aspects, millennium development goals, poverty, sanitation, sdiwrm, water resources management, water shortage

Despite the acknowledged role of water resources in socio-economic development and growth there is little quantitative information how much water resource degradation impacts on a country's economy. This paper commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment in preparation of CSD12, April 19-30, United Nations, New York, assesses the macro-economic impacts of water resources and their degradation on a country's economy. It aims to collect data and information describing the linkages between a country's economy and natural resource base, focusing on water resources in particular, and use these to estimate the macro-economic indicators of the country's vulnerability to droughts, floods and water resources degradation. This in order to provide an economic rationale for a country to promote improved water resources development and management and be a valuable contribution to preparing water resources management- and efficiency plans and climate change strategies. For example, globally, agriculture uses almost 70 % of all available water, and in developing countries this share is around 90 % on average, with irrigation using almost all of it, but paying only a fraction of the cost of supplying it. Inefficient pricing and management of irrigation water supply leads to massive wastage and losses of agricultural output, environmental damage and loss of soil productivity, and loss of water that could have been allocated for more productive uses. Acceptance of "virtual water" as an input in food production would help to reallocate water intensive activities to where water is plentiful, and in this way avoid unnecessary investments in new water supply systems where water resources are scarce and remotely located relative where it is to be used.

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