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The Nature and Causes of the Global Water Crisis

Project Leads: 
Veena Srinivasan
Eric Lambin
Steven Gorelick
Barton Thompson
Scott Rozelle

"The case studies indicate that although there is no universal metric that definitely captures every type of water crises, different regions of the world show a limited suite of distinct resource utilization patterns by urban, agricultural, and ecosystem uses. This suite comprises six syndromes: Groundwater Depletion, Ecological Destruction, Drought-Driven Conflicts, Unmet Subsistence Needs, Resource Capture by Elite, and Water Reallocation to Nature. Each of these categories was associated with a set of causal factors that could be broadly classified into demand and supply changes, governance systems, and infrastructure. Our study suggests that each syndrome is generated by a limited set of causal pathways."


Srinivasan, V., E. F. Lambin, S. M. Gorelick, B. H. Thompson, and S. Rozelle (2012), The nature and causes of the global water crisis: Syndromes from a meta-analysis of coupled human-water studies, Water Resour. Res., 48, W10516, doi:10.1029/2011WR011087.