Introduction to Water, Poverty, and Ecology: A Vision for Sustainability
The chapters in this section address the issue of water and the challenge presented by its complex roles within ecology and poverty. Essential to all life on earth and seemingly connected to all facets of our lives, water defies succinct summary and easy solutions. Panacea have arrived and departed and our water systems exhibit some incremental changes, but typically only the slogans endure. Meanwhile, water grows scarcer around the world, the poor suffer limited access to water, aquatic ecosystems are among the most threatened by human alteration, societies remain vulnerable to water hazards such as floods and drought and most water use is inefficient in both physical and economic terms. Why is this so? The reasons are myriad, and in water issues, the details are critical and too often superseded by the force of strong convictions. Nonetheless, one often finds that a root cause of many complex water issues relates to the difficulty of managing the ever present intricacies of poverty and ecology. These are the issues that make water different from other, more easily commoditized, mediums.