Water resources are getting scarcer all around the world. Even in the a country like the Netherlands, for centuries the victims of flooding, pollution and population pressure are putting ever greater demands on precious resources. Further south, Spain is only just recovering from its worst drought this century. Six years without rain left crops without irrigation and the water supply cut off for hours every day.
These problems in Europe are being repeated elsewhere, and agencies such as the United Nations warn that governments must act now to prevent a catastrophe in future.
In the first of a three-part series, James McDonald looks at the issues and asks what can be done.
Producer: James McDonald
Broadcast: November 1997