The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (2007) identifies some promising, disturbing, and double-edged trends observed on current and future changes in water quantity, flow and its management. Promising trends include: steadily rising pattern in water productivity around the world; increasing investments in irrigation and agricultural water management expected to spur economic growth within the sector and across other sectors, and increasing global trade in food products as well as in consequent flows of “virtual water” ( meaning the water embodied in food export) which also has the potential to provide greater prospects for better global food security and the plausibility of eradicating water stress.
The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (2007) equally presents some disturbing trends observed due to changes in water quantity and flow. These include: dying rivers due to irrigated-agricultural intensification, higher water consumption, poor water resource management, and inequitable allocation of river basins to meet the growing water demand; continuous threat to freshwater fisheries which provides vital livelihoods of rural poor; increasing degradation of water resources through erosion, pollution, nutrient depletion, seawater intrusion, and salinity; rapidly declining groundwater levels in densely populated areas of North Africa, North China, India, and Mexico due to higher demand; and slowing rate of institutional transformation and capacity building amongst water management institutions to adapt to emerging trends and conditions
The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (2007) also provides some double-edged trends in water resource management and changes. The assessment underscores that growing water depletion and withdrawals for irrigation in developing countries have been instrumental to poverty alleviation and national economic growth, but pays a negative price to the environment. Secondly, the increasing water demand for industries and cities provides opportunities for employment creation and income generation, but reduces agricultural water supply causing economic water scarcity for rural communities and also increases pollution of water bodies. Finally, the assessment indicates that there would be more pressure on water resources around the world due to increasing expansion of aquaculture and livestock production industries with associated rising consumption of fish and meat providing additional benefits for income and well-being.
We found conflicting results as far as people’s WTP for residential water is concern. A comprehensive review of studies (cited by Abramson et. al. 2011; Kayser) and Moriarty, Fonseca, and Bartram 2013 global review both indicate that poor rural residents in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are not willing to pay enough cash to finance water service improvement and attain project cost recovery. In comparison, their urban counterparts are willing to pay more, hence making project cost recovery highly feasible in the urban areas. Other studies, indicate that low-income households in LDCs are rather willing to pay for water provision and improvement services they want (Soto Montes de Oca and Bateman, 2006; Vásquez et. al. 2009; Olajuyigbe and Fasakin, 2010).
For recreational water use, the general trend found is that local populations are expressing significant WTP for increasing or restoring water flows for leisure and pleasure (Olmstead, 2010).