Water scarcity may be the most underappreciated global environmental challenge of our time. In the Middle East, China, India, and the United States, groundwater is being pumped faster than it is being replenished, and rivers such as the Colorado and Yellow River no longer reach the sea year round. Over the next quarter century, the number of people in countries unable to meet their domestic, industrial, and agricultural water needs is expected to balloon substantially. Worldwatch research on water focuses on practical policies to ensure more efficient use and equitable access to water, to minimize international and intersectoral conflict over this vital resource, and to avoid groundwater contamination.

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