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During academic years 2012-13 and 2013-14, the GRI is focusing on the challenges faced by a world population likely to rise to 9 or 9.5 billion by mid-century, seeking to provide water, sanitation and hygiene for all.

With urbanization advancing, and more of the world’s growing and increasingly urban population seeking their share of economic growth and development, demand for water, already furious, will intensify even further. Even in the face of these daunting challenges, however, researchers have pioneered new ways to use existing supplies of water more efficiently and to distribute such supplies more equitably, made advances in the fight against water-borne diseases, and met pressing environmental challenges. Awareness of both the value and cost of water is increasing and the era of “smart water” is clearly upon us. There is, then, much reason for hope, even optimism, going forward.  Human development has progressed more in the past one hundred years than in the previous thousand. How development progresses in the twenty-first century depends on how well we manage water. Indeed, if the last century was the century of oil, ours will likely be the century of H2O.