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Water re-allocation from rural to urban regions reviewed in international study


May 7, 2019
By Ground Water Canada

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Water re-allocation projects are political but should be backed up by rigorous evidence in order to negotiate the trade-offs for cities and rural areas, suggests a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Competition for freshwater between cities and agriculture is projected to grow due to rapid urbanization, particularly in the global south, according to “Rural water for thirsty cities: a systematic review of water reallocation from rural to urban regions.”

Water re-allocation from rural to urban regions has become a common strategy to meet freshwater needs in growing cities. Conceptual issues and associated measurement problems have hampered efforts to compare and learn from international experiences.

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The projects are often expensive, time-consuming, and can have significant consequences for donors and recipients, as well as the environment, the paper concludes, and because these decisions are ultimately political, they should be supported by rigorous evidence in order to negotiate the trade-offs for all those involved.

The review was undertaken by 13 authors from around the world, including Bharat Punjabi of the University of Toronto. It examines the status and trends of water re-allocation from rural to urban regions based on academic literature and policy documents. | READ THE FULL STUDY