Fixing leaky pipes in conurbations from Mexico City to New Delhi is a better way to avert water shortages as the world population grows than costly schemes such as dams, a leading expert said on Monday.
"There is no shortage of water in the world, but there is a crisis of management of water supplies," Asit Bitwas, head of the Third World Centre for Water Management in Mexico City, told Reuters during a meeting of 1,000 experts on water in Stockholm.
"There is enough water, even in the Middle East, if we manage our water properly," Bitwas said, disputing the findings of an new international report that said one in three of the world's people lived in areas where water was in short supply.
He said many developing nations often wrongly put priority on expensive schemes to build dams or divert rivers in a bid to increase supplies. He said that the key was in simpler measures like fixing leaks.
"In nearly all the megacities nearly 40% to 60% (of water) never reaches the consumer" because of leaks and poor maintenance, he said.
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