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Culture and Lifestyle Issues

Our world is an increasingly urban place. According to the United Nations, for the first time ever, more people live in cities than in rural areas. Much of this growth is occurring in the developing nations of Africa and Asia. Twenty-two cities will have more than ten million inhabitants by 2015 and 17 of these cities will be located in the developing world.

Most of this urban growth occurs well outside the reach of municipal water distribution systems, leaving new, poor urbanites with few sources of clean water. Growing, densely-populated slum neighborhoods also suffer from lack of adequate sanitation systems, which leads to the contamination of what water there is available.

These patterns of urban growth, spurred by economic and cultural shifts, are a critical water management challenge for the twenty-first century and beyond.

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