Water is life, life is water: (Un)sustainable use and management of water in the 21st century

Gauri Shankar Gupta, Annamária Orbán


Few issues have a greater impact on our lives than water.  Water is a paradox: seemingly it is abundant and renewable resource, whereas only a tiny amount of it can be accessed and drinkable. Moreover, global water resources are unevenly distributed and many of them have been contaminated. Millions of people struggle with water scarcity, many times leading to water related international conflicts. Water is an international public good, with CPR and collective action problems, calling for international cooperation and actions to solve. Well-developed ancient civilizations have disappeared because of human environmental degradation, bad resource management and related socio-political problems. We should learn the lessons from our ancestors therefore wisely manage our natural resources. Such socio-cultural aspects as sustainable water governance, policy and communication can be as important as high-tech engineering for human survival from a historic perspective. Our paper is a theoretical overview and analysis of the most challenging water related issues and problems, providing theoretical as well as practical, policy oriented solutions in the end.


water, public goods, sustainable water use and governance, international cooperation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14267/CJSSP.2018.1.04


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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X