Is water facing a crisis? Yes and no. On the one hand, declining water quality is a serious problem in many parts of the world; and if recent usage trends continue, shortages are inevitable. On the other hand, water quality has improved in many economically advanced countries, and in some regions institutions and policies have been adopted that would postpone, or even avoid, the onset of water crises. These policies include establishing secure and transferable water rights and extending these rights to enhance ecosystems.