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Water supplies are not running out, but time is getting short to stem waste of water and destructive exploitation of the environment before harm is done that may be irreparable. Most of the world's water is oceanic brine. Of the waters on the land, most is frozen in Antarctica and Greenland. Only a small part of continental water is available for use and management. The discharge of rivers to the sea is a close measure of the availability of liquid water, but ground-water reservoirs have important functions as inexpensive equalizers of water supply. Soil moisture is a major factor in the water economy, and its function usually is overlooked in assessments of water use and future water demand. Despite outcries of water shortage, the principal use of water in advanced countries is as a medium for waste disposal. In reality, despite regional maldistribution of water, United States supplies are adequate, given rational management. Also, contrary to common belief, water pollution is primarily a problem of economics, not of health. A paramount problem in most parts of the world is the shortage of water development and management facilities, not a shortage of water. The International Hydrological Decade is a program to awaken people everywhere to the crucial importance of water in man's future and to promote rational approach to water problems.