Freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource. The fragility of the world's water resources is likely to become more acute unless future strategies recognise the cruciallinks between water, the environment, development and international security. Environmental change could have resounding effects on water, leading to extreme scenarios of drought or flooding. Developmental practices that treat water as a plentiful and robust resource are likely to result in severe depletion of its quality and thereby diminish its capacity for human consumption and other uses. Water is al ready scarce in certain regions of the world. Uncertainty about future supplies may exacerbate political tensions within states and lead to conflict between them, especially over international watercourses.