Frank R. Rijsberman – Netherlands

Linked with Every Last Drop, and with the International Water Management Institute IWMI.

Since 2000, Frank Rijsberman is Director General of the International Water Management Institute IWMI. IWMI is the leading international research organisation on water, food and environment, headquartered in Sri Lanka. It is one of the 15 centres supported by the CGIAR. IWMI has over one hundred senior researchers, a staff of 380, offices in 12 countries in Africa and Asia and a budget of US$28M. Its mission is to improve water and land resources management for food, livelihoods and nature. Since 1999 Rijsberman has been appointed part-time Professor at the UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Education (jointly appointed at Wageningen University since 2003). At IWMI, Frank Rijsberman has developed and spearheaded international initiatives to (a) increase the dialogue among agriculturalist and environmentalists (The Dialogue on Water, Food and Environment) and (b) increase water productivity in agriculture (Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management for Agriculture; CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food). He has 25 years of experience in natural resources management research and consulting, specifically for fresh water resources, coastal zones, soil erosion, environmental management and climate change / sea level rise … (full CV long text).

… From 1990-2000 he was a co-founder, partner and managing director of Resource Analysis, a private research and consulting firm in the Netherlands.  From 1998-2000 Mr. Rijsberman was also one of the key organizers of the World Water Vision and second World Water Forum process.  He has been a member of the Water Task Force of the UN Millennium Development Goals Project, an invited speaker at CSD 12, and a chapter review editor of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.  He has well over 50 scientific and technical publications. (full text).

The Board would like to commend Frank for his successful leadership of the Institute during the past seven years. As is well documented elsewhere, IWMI has grown and blossomed over the period under his leadership. The overall conclusion of the 3rd External Program and Management Review of IWMI was that the institute has emerged from its period of rapid growth as a larger, more diverse, more proactive and generally stronger research organization, with enhanced human resources management. IWMI has benefited greatly from the leadership of a strong and dynamic Director General since 2000 … // …The IWMI Board fully agrees with this endorsement of the external review panel and wishes Frank well as he goes on to new challenges in helping to build Google’s new philanthropic arm, (full text, May 2007).


Frank R. Rijsberman – Netherlands

Find him and his publications on his CV page 4-6: Selected Publications; on amazon; on allBookstores; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

He writes:

  • … As people accept that climate change is real and here to stay, they are likely to realize that while reducing greenhouse gas emissions is all about energy, adapting to climate change will be all about water … (as subtitle in an article, );
  • … However, water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and all other domestic needs is only a small fraction of the requisite supply. A much larger amount is needed to grow our food as well as the fibers, such as cotton, in our clothes. On average, growing a single calorie of food demands a liter (a little more than a quarter of a gallon) of water. Plants need water for evapotranspiration, the process by which water evaporates from soil and leaves and transpirates from plants through the stomata, thereby transferring water from Earth’s surface into the atmosphere. A healthy diet of 3000 calories requires at least 3000 liters (792.5 gallons) of water to produce; a vegetarian diet requires the least amount of water, while a Western, meat-based diet rich in corn-fed beef can require as much as 15,000 liters about 3,963 gallons) of water per person per day. Roughly seventy times as much water is needed to grow the food that people eat as to serve domestic purposes … (full text, 25 Jan 2009;
  • … It is surprisingly difficult to determine whether water is truly scarce in the physical sense at a global scale (a supply problem) or whether it is available but should be used better (a demand problem). The paper reviews water scarcity indicators and global assessments based on these indicators. The most widely used indicator, the Falkenmark indicator, is popular because it is easy to apply and understand but it does not help to explain the true nature of water scarcity. The more complex indicators are not widely applied because data are lacking to apply them and the definitions are not intuitive. Water is definitely physically scarce in densely populated arid areas, Central and West Asia, and North Africa, with projected availabilities of less than 1000 m3/capita/ year. This scarcity relates to water for food production, however, and not to water for domestic purposes that are minute at this scale. In most of the rest of the world water scarcity at a national scale has as much to do with the development of the demand as the availability of the supply. Accounting for water for environmental requirements shows that abstraction of water for domestic, food and industrial uses already have a major impact on ecosystems in many parts of the world, even those not considered ‘‘water scarce’’. Water will be a major constraint for agriculture in coming decades and particularly in Asia and Africa this will require major institutional adjustments. A ‘‘soft path’’ to address water scarcity, focusing on increasing overall water productivity, is recommended … (full text, Aug. 8, 2005, click on Water scarcity, Fact or fiction? 18 pdf-pages).
  • … Most of the earth’s water is saline, located in seas and oceans. And most of the earth’s fresh water is locked up in the ice caps around the poles. The rest is the water pumped around by the sun in the hydrological cycle: water that evaporates into the atmosphere, gathers in clouds, and falls as rain … (full text).

Sorry, many of his texts are not available for free.

Some more articles by the key words ‘water scarcity’:

Google (about 516) News-results for water scarcity; Google (about 270′000) Image-results for water scarcity; Google (316) video-search for water-scarcity; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

same item: on charity; on; on water; on the water; on play; on action against; (and older): on BBC: A looming crisis? 19 October 2004; on The African Water page: a FAO article, 2001.


How Climate Change Is Threatening Our Drinking Water, National Radio Project. Posted January 22, 2009;

Shrinking Glaciers Have Put Tibetans in the Path of Climate Chaos, by Christina Larson, Christian Science Monitor. Posted January 22, 2009;

Is There an Upside to the Southwest’s Increasing Drought? By Moises Velasquez-Manoff, Christian Science Monitor. Posted January 21, 2009;

Global water crisis: a holistic overview, September 23, 2008.

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