Building peace in the minds of men and women

Water and life

Our need for water is constantly increasing, whether wc arc turning a tap in our own home, irrigating our fields or running the cooling equipment in our nation's electric power stations and industries.

There is an automatic increase due to population growth. Because of this increase alone, in 20 years time we are likely to be needing more than three cubic metres of water where two suffice today. The overall improvement of living standards to which all men aspire, the fight against hunger through the irrigation of more land for food growing, the creation and expansion of new industries all foretell the need for even greater water supplies throughout the world. Though it is difficult to calculate the exact amount, it is safe to say that in 20 years' time the demand for water will roughly double.

Such a rapid increase in water consumption can only be met through waterworks programmes of tremendous scope and diversity. In many places wc shall be obliged to turn to increasingly remote and inaccessihlc sources for our water, or obtain it through the costly processes which purify polluted water for further use or remove the salt from sea-water.

In any case, whether we are concerned with transporting water over great distances, storing it in reservoirs or maintaining its quality, the installation and construction work involved in doubling our water supply within the next two decades will cost a fabulous amount possibly several millions of millions of dollars for the world as a whole.

Faced with such a situation it is obvious that we should search as widely as possible and with every available means for those sources of fresh water that seem to be the least costly. But where do these sources exist? Only a sustained and co-ordinated programme of scientific observation and research in hydrology will tell us the answer. This is the purpose of the International Hydrolological Decade.

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July-August 1964