From the BBC: Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1480000/images/_1484308_waste.jpg Researchers in Asia say a cheap and simple water pump can help farmers to escape poverty. The device, a treadle pump, is foot-operated, and ideal for farmers who cannot afford to run a diesel pump. It gives them access to groundwater for irrigation, and the prospect of higher yields. It is being launched on Monday in Stockholm, at the World Water Symposium, one of a series of meetings on what many scientists believe is an impending global water crisis. The pump's potential will be explored by a coalition launched to resolve the dilemma of increasing water scarcity. The coalition, the Dialogue on Water, Food and Environment (DWFE), brings together scientists and policymakers. Its job is to reconcile the demands of producing food and protecting the environment. Agricultural scientists say farm water use, especially irrigation, must increase by 15-20% in the next quarter century to feed the world's growing population. But environmental scientists say water use will need to fall by at least 10% to protect rivers, lakes and wetlands, and to meet the demands of cities and industry. Sustainable use About 450 million people in 29 countries already face water shortages. The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) says about 2.7 billion people, nearly a third of the world's probable population by then, will by 2025 live in regions facing severe water scarcity. But an IWMI study into the use of treadle pumps suggests they can be an important part of the answer to conflicting demands. The pumps allow farmers to make sustainable use of an existing source of water, and to grow more food and become richer in doing so. The study evaluated the use of treadle pumps in eastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh, where 400 million of the world's poorest people live. So here we have the direct opposites. One needs more water in the field and the other needs to conserve water. Which do you favor and why?