The future of water resources and the current - or latent - conflicts around the division of that essential resource for human life represent one of the major issues of the coming decades, if not indeed the next few years. Futuribles, which intends to return to this question shortly, is this month publishing an article by Sébastien Treyer that provides many elements for a foresight analysis with regard to the increasing scarcity of water resources.
The author presents the development of the international debate on the future scarcity of water in historical perspective and studies the various projections, forecasts and foresight scenarios that are, or have been, at issue. There have been four main phases to this debate: a first period centred on the notion of national water stress, based on demographic profiles; a second phase relating to the complexity of the water management system and its future vulnerability; a third stage dealing with the adaptive capacity of the populations exposed to possible water scarcity and, lastly, a fourth phase approaching the question from a global standpoint, in terms of the trade in foodstuffs.
Sébastien Treyer ends this particular analysis by focussing on the example of Tunisia to present a national planning process for water resource management. He concludes by highlighting the crucial presence of questions of a political nature, domestic political considerations (resource allocation, development paths, purification) having precedence here even over international ones.