Friday, August 28, 1998 Published at 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
'Water wars' predicted
The developing world is already experiencing severe water shortages
Fresh water - described as the fluid that lubricates development - is in shortage all over the world, and a new report says the situation is likely to get worse.
A third of the world's population will be short of fresh water by the year 2025, according to the report just published by the Johns Hopkins Population Information Programme in the United States.
With prompt action, says the report, water shortages can be avoided, but without action, water wars are set to be a feature of the next century.
The programme calls for urgent action - a "Blue Revolution" to conserve and manage fresh water supplies by combining the use of water handling technology with international water sharing agreements.
Technologies have been developed that can reduce water loss by up to 90% and these should be implemented in countries that can afford the large investments required.
Elsewhere, the report argues, centuries-old water conservation techniques exist that can be used to similar effect.
The second half of the revolution requires countries to agree water sharing pacts, such as the agreement between India and Bangladesh to share the water of the Ganges river.
With over 200 of the world's river basins shared by two or more countries, similar agreements are needed to prevent conflict over precious water resources.