Experts have discussed the declining availability of freshwater for decades. Even though a long-overdue United Nations Water Conference took place in March, critics say addressing water shortages demands global leadership, significant investment and mandates for sustainable water management. Governments, including the United States, inevitably will have to make hard choices, especially where water is withdrawn faster than it is replenished. With transboundary waters accounting for 60 percent of the world's freshwater flows, conflicts over water may increase across borders and between sectors. So far, cooperative agreements have proven successful, such as in the Mekong Basin in Southeast Asia, the Okavango River area in South Africa and the Great Lakes region in North America. Governments and businesses are also cooperating to build water infrastructure and pursue ...

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