Waterplays a pivotal role in sustainable development, including poverty reduction.The use and abuse of increasingly precious water resources has intensifieddramatically over the past decades, reaching a point where water shortages,water quality degradation and aquatic ecosystem destruction are seriouslyaffecting prospects for economic and social development, political stabilityand ecosystem integrity (UNDP, 2007a). Given the importance of water to povertyalleviation, human and ecosystem health, the management of water resourcesbecomes of central importance (Batchelor, 2007). Currently, over 1 billionpeople lack access to water and over 2.4 billion lack access to basicsanitation.
Access to clean water is lowest in Africa, while Asia has the largestnumber of people with no access to basic sanitation. This water crisis islargely our own making. It has resulted not from the natural limitations of thewater supply or lack of financing and appropriate technologies, even thoughthese are important factors, but rather from profound failures in watergovernance (UNDP, 2007b). Water is a natural resource, fundamental to life,livelihood, food security and sustainable development. It is also a scarceresource. Water storage has a vital role to play in improving global foodsecurity and building resilience for adaptation to climate change.
Furthermore,large-scale impoverishment of aquatic biodiversity, ecosystem degradation andreductions in water quality are unaddressed ‘side effects’ in areas where watercan be secured for human and economic uses. As the outcomes from Rio+20 and thelast ten-year strategy of the United Nations’ convention to combatdesertification (UNCCD), challenges to the sustainability of global watersecurity should be scrutinized. Of particular concern is the likelihood thatthe water-related Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) targets may not beachievable due to lack of funding commitments, and a failure of deliverymechanisms including water governance (Ghorbani and Moradi, 2013).