chapter  1
25 Pages

Introduction

And so it was. By the beginning of the twenty-first century it had become appar-

ent, and a consensus had emerged, that the world was in a state of a water crisis.

Talk of an impending crisis had begun back in the late 1970s, yet despite a

variety of efforts over the following two decades, as we entered the new millen-

nium more than one-fifth of the world’s population were without access to

enough clean water to live a healthy, dignified life. In tune with mainstream

development thinking of the time, early analyses on the cause of the crisis

pointed to a looming Malthusian catastrophe of resource scarcity, population

pressures and limits to growth. Two decades later, however, another analysis on

the cause of the crisis had taken centre stage. While it was still largely agreed

that some areas of the globe were certainly water-stressed, it had come to be

believed that the water crisis was a consequence of politics, poverty and the way

water is managed and allocated (UNDP 2006). In short, it had been determined,

and decided, that the crisis of water was an outcome of a crisis of governance

(UN WWAP 2003).