The Role of Science and Technology in the Soft Path to Solving Conflicts over Water - China‑Europa Forum

The Role of Science and Technology in the Soft Path to Solving Conflicts over Water

Water Management: Technology, Economics and Environment, Scientific Meeting

Authors: Manuel Ramon Llamas, Elena Lopez-Gunn

Date: janvier 2007

Published by Fundacion Areces

Today most water resources experts admit that water conflicts are not caused by the physical scarcity of water. They are mainly due to poor water management. However, scientific and technological advances that ocurred in the last fifty years open new paths to solving many water related conflicts, often with tools that a few decades ago seemed unthinkable. Four of them are discussed in this paper: a) salt water desalination; b) the concept of virtual water (i.e. food trade on a global scale due to low transport costs); c) the “silent revolution” in most arid and semiarid countries due to the low cost and ease in groundwater abstraction; d) how the use of remote sensing and GIS has allowed greater transparency and information on land use change and the corresponding water uses, coupled with the impact of the Internet can open up water governance to the public at large through participation and education. Together these advances are changing the concepts of water and food security that have been predominant during centuries in the minds of most water decision-makers.

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