The bad: Global demand for water already exceeds supply -- about 1.1 billion people don't have access to clean water -- and the so-called water gap is increasing at an accelerating rate.
The good: Cost-effective, sustainable solutions are available to close the gap, particularly if governments and business focus on reducing demand rather than trying to generate additional supply.
The challenge: Getting beyond the nostrum that water is a "human right" so that water, which is obviously a scarce resource, can be priced in a way that drives conservation.
Between the disappearance of glaciers that supply billions with drinking and agricultural water and the rising human population, we're in a world of trouble when it comes to fresh water. The good news, of course, is that we have both the technology and the capability to improve agricultural, forestry, grazing and other land use practices in a way that will help protect and conserve water supplies.
Do our sluggish governments have the political will to drive -- and mandate -- a smooth transition to more water efficient and conserving practices in time to avoid a major global water crisis?