Water for the future will be a vital issue on the agenda of the forthcoming second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements {Habitat 11), to be held in June 3-14 in Istanbul, Turkey. A major challenge faced by the participants will be to arrive at a consensus on how the soaring water demands of the 'thirsty cities' around the world, a problem which is rapidly acquiring megalithic proportions, can be met without compromising the needs of our future generations; the theme for this year's World Water Day (March 22) was "Water for thirsty cities".