This inquiry summarizes global water resources and patterns of use, applies indicators of water sustainability in order to identify areas of water stress, and examines prospects for water sustainability in the twenty-first century. It introduces a long-range conventional development scenario based on a vision of the future in which the values, consumption patterns, and dynamics of Western industrial society will be progressively played out on a global scale. The scenario helps clarify the constraints of a conventional picture of water development and provides a useful point of departure for examining alternative long-range scenarios and their implications for water and development policy.
Originally published in Natural Resources Forum 20, no. 1 (February 1996): 1-15, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1477-8947.1996.tb00629.x/abstract.