Restoring and Protecting the World's Lakes and Reservoirsby Ariel Dinar, Peter Seidl, Harvey Olem, Vanja Jorden
Human activities are threatening the sustainable use of lakes and reservoirs around the globe. These sources of water are critical components in the ecological system. They provide habitat, sanctuary, and food for many species of fish and wildlife and are also a source of many beneficial uses for humankind. They provide drinking water; they are a source for process water to a myriad of industries, and their waters are used to generate power. Lakes and reservoirs provide food, navigation services, and recreational opportunities. Information and case studies reviewed in this paper indicate that the resource is at risk from over-enrichment, over exploitation, contamination by toxics, and water diversion for unsustainable agricultural uses. As a result, options for reginal development are being curtailed, human populations are being uprooted, and future generations of people are being impacted by materials polluting lake waters. This paper calls for immediate action to reverse the degradation of these important natural resources. The paper argues that institutional processes should be developed to implement holistic, ecosystem-based, watershed-wide, stakeholder-driven strategies in order to sustain the resource. The way ahead was outlined by te World Bank in its Water Resources Management Policy adopted in 1993. The problems are so complex and the solutions require such a comprehensive approach that the World Bank, specialized UN agencies, and other international support organizations should place special emphasis on the problem. The paper calls on these organizations and governments to take necessary actions to make development activities more sustainable with regard to lakes andreservoirs.
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