By STEPS Centre and Institute of Development Studies researchers

To mark World Water Day 2007, IDS researchers set out what they believe are the five top priorities that need to be addressed if we are to cope with water scarcity.

Investing in rainfed agriculture: Upgrading rainfed areas has high potential both for food production and for poverty alleviation, for this reason we believe the international community should make it a priority.
Recognition of complex factors: Water scarcity is the result of a combination of institutional, ecological and socio-political factors and solutions cannot be simplistic.
Women and sanitation: Donor investment, programming and infrastructure design in the area of sanitation needs to recognise women’s specific sanitary and hygiene requirements.
Improving water management with SRI: The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) can reduce the demand for irrigation water by around 50 per cent.
Donor rethink on sanitation: Donor and policymakers need to gain field experience of Community-Led Total Sanitation to understand the need for spending restraint.

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