Home Business Case Menu Water Trends Case Studies Overcoming Challenges Resources
Tool Sections: Overview Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5
Perspectives on Water Sustainability


“Sustainable Development is a very simple idea. It is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.”

U.K. Department of the Environment, Transport, and the Regions (1)

“Water is a key to sustainable development, crucial to its social, economic and environmental dimensions. Water is life, essential for human health. Water is an economic and a social good, and should be allocated first to satisfy basic human needs. Many people regard access to drinking water and sanitation to be a human right. There is no substitute for water: without it, humans and other living organisms die, farmers cannot grow food, businesses cannot operate. Providing water security is a key dimension of poverty reduction.”

International Conference on Freshwater, Bonn, 2001 (2)

“Water scarcity may be the most under appreciated global environmental challenge of our time.”

World Watch Institute (3)

“Water is needed in all aspects of life. The general objective is to make certain that adequate supplies of water of good quality are maintained for the entire population of this planet, while preserving the hydrological, biological and chemical functions of ecosystems, adapting human activities within the capacity limits of nature and combating vectors of water-related diseases.”

United Nations: Agenda 21 (4)

“All human beings have an inherent right to water in quantities and of a quality necessary to meet their basic needs. This right should be protected by law. The right to water is satisfied when every person has physical and economic access to a basic water requirement at all times.”

“Satisfying the standards of [the UN Declaration of Human Rights] cannot be done without water of a sufficient quantity and quality to maintain human health and well-being. Meeting a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of individuals requires the availability of a minimum amount of clean water.”

Peter Gleick, President, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security (5)

“One cannot preserve the life of a place and not protect the waters that run through it. Historically, The Nature Conservancy has targeted terrestrial species through protection of the habitats that they need to survive. We have had great success on this front, owning and managing the world’s largest system of private nature preserves. But our thinking and methods have evolved over time and we recognize the connection between land and water is elemental: one cannot preserve both the terrestrial and aquatic life of a place without protecting the waters that run through it.”

The Nature Conservancy Freshwater Initiative (6)

“Forests are vital to this country’s water supply. The largest volume and the cleanest water in the United States flows off our forested landscapes. Forests cover one-third of the continental United States but supply two-thirds of the runoff…Water is perhaps the most under-valued and under-appreciated forest product. Watershed health and restoration should be the over-riding priority for forest management. We can leave no greater gift to our children than to leave the watersheds entrusted to our care healthier, more diverse, and more productive.”

Mike Dombeck, Former U.S. Forest Service Chief (7)

“Doing more with less is the first and easiest step along the path toward water security. By using water more efficiently, we in effect create a new source of supply.”

“In short, we need a water ethic – a guide to right conduct in the face of complex decisions about natural systems we do not and cannot fully understand. The essence of such an ethic is to make the protection of water ecosystems a central goal in all we do…Living by such an ethic would mean using less whenever we can, and sharing what we have.”

Sandra Postel, Director of the Global Water Policy Project (8)

Tool Overview