Water Scarcity

Scarcity indicates limitations in supply or an imbalance in supply and demand for water resources. It produces opportunities for cooperation or competition and sometimes conflict over the water resources. A significant number of studies focus on the scarcity of water resources and methods of addressing them (Turton et al., 2001; Feitelson and Chenoweth, 2002). To assess the second order scarcity the demand side is explored primarily through the various water uses in a particular location and actors involved in the control, allocation and use of the resources. Technology can be used to allocate water for various demands and also to make more efficient and effective use of the water resources. Water uses are often classified as primary secondary and tertiary in some countries. Primary water use includes domestic water and water for livestock while the secondary water uses are commercial uses and tertiary are those including energy demands where alternatives may exist. Technology can thus be applied on both the supply and demand side of water resources management. On the supply side it can be used to locate, measure and monitor water resources. While on the demand side it can be applied to reduce usage and increase efficiency and effective use. It thus presents opportunities for addressing water scarcity.

Falkenmark defined water scarcity as "occurring when the annual per capita water supply of a country is less than 1700m3. Below 1000m3 per capita a country would be facing water scarcity where water shortages threaten economic development and human health and well-being", see Fig. 1. Khroda uses Falkenmark's water scarcity quantification to define a water stressed system as "one in which degradation is taking place or where there is a threat to its capacity to continue providing adequate water supply in quantity and quality to households, communities and nations" (Khroda 1996). He goes on to note that water as a resource must be culturally defined because water by itself is not productive: its use requires some minimum level of social infrastructure for it to be productive. Winpenny defines water scarcity as the imbalance of supply and demand under the prevailing institutional arrangement and/or prices; an excess of demand over available supply; a high rate of utilisation compared to available supply, especially if remaining supply potentials are difficult or costly to tap (Winpenny 1994). She goes further to state that water scarcity is a relative concept and difficult to capture in single indices. She refers to water stress as the symptoms of water scarcity e.g. growing conflict between users and competition for water, declining standards of reliability and service, harvest failures and food insecurity. These definitions illustrate the shift from

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