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Image for Water: how to stop the world from going thirsty

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Water: how to stop the world from going thirsty

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 10 March 2012

As we look forward to the World Water Forum, one of the biggest meetings about water in the world, we discuss the importance of this precious resource.

Usha Rao-Monari, who's Global Head of Water at the International Finance Corporation, argues that water is a key factor in the economic growth of a nation.

Zambian Martin Mulenga, a sanitation and water supply expert, discusses the challenges of providing access to safe and clean water to those living in slums. And the leading American visual artist Roni Horn shares with us her life-long fascination with water, which she describes as the ultimate seduction.

Illustration by Laura Morris.


4 items
  • Roni Horn

    Roni Horn

    Roni Horn
    You are the Weather, Part 2 (detail)
    2010 - 2011 Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zurich Copyright: Roni Horn

    Roni Horn is an American artist and writer whose major inspiration is water. Some of her most recent work includes a much acclaimed photographic exploration of the River Thames in London, and Water,Selected, an installation of glass columns containing water collected from some of the major glaciers around Iceland. She says water fascinates her because it is not an object but a form that exists only in its relationship to other things, and one which her imagination can manipulate and shape.

  • Usha Rao-Monari

    Usha Rao-Monari

    Usha Rao-Monari is the Global Head for Water and Waste at the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC. Originally from India, she is a leading advisor in water security in the public and private sectors. She believes water needs to be recognised as crucial to all areas, including development, education, public health, biodiversity and climate change.

  • Martin Mulenga

    Martin Mulenga

    Martin Mulenga is a senior sanitation researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development in London. He works on the crucial issue of making available clean water to those living in illegal urban developments. Underlying his work is a belief that everyone has a right to have access to water, and he shares with us his innovative and creative solutions to improve water supply.

  • Sixty Second Idea to Change the World

    In our Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World, Usha Rao-Monari suggests giving every citizen in every country a prepaid smart card to enable them to buy water in advance. The price of the water on sale would be fixed and would be set by the poorest citizen of the country. Because many of the poor don’t have a steady income, this would enable them to fill up the card whenever they get money. Usha believes such a system would be a big step towards making everyone more equal in terms of their access to water.

  • In Next Week’s Programme

    A show about leadership with scientist Sir Martin Rees, business leader Simon Walker and diplomat Carne Ross recorded in front of a live audience of opinion formers in Portmeiron in Wales.


  1. Image for Forum - A World of Ideas

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  2. Image for Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

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