As is becoming clearer and clearer, pressures on water resources in the United States are growing, with no foreseeable end in sight. Yet these pressures are not due to a national water scarcity. While the Southwest faces the problems of draught, a rising population, and over-allocation of resources, the Northeast and Northern Plains must deal with increasingly wet weather and flooding. The greatest challenges that the United States faces with regard to water are regional disparities in availability, a changing climate, worsening water quality, and, increasingly, controversies over management strategies and policies.
While many countries have adopted federal approaches to water management, the United States has no cohesive national water policy. In fact, the oversight of current water policy is shared by over sixty different agencies,and the last national water assessment undertaken in the United States occurred over forty years ago. The lack of coordinated oversight not only renders national policymakers unable to make informed analyses of water quality standards and availability, it also results in large gaps of understanding regarding variability of water resources and how to most efficiently and effectively manage and preserve those resources. A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy culls together independent analysis of freshwater availability; water usage in agriculture, municipalities, tribal settlements, and energy production; exisiting legal frameworks; environmental justice movements; and data on water quality and climate change. The result is a visionary proposal for a coherent and critically needed federal water policy.
"A Twenty- First Century US Water Policy is refreshingly forward-looking, almost exclusively emphasizing water policy. That is, it is a book that offers solutions."
– Great Plains Research
"We are overdue for a wide-ranging national debate over use and conservation of our dwindling water resources. This book frames the issues and makes insightful and innovative suggestions for the directions we should take."
– Bruce Babbitt, former United States Secretary of the Interior
"It is the great achievement of Peter Gleick, long our foremost water policy thinker, and of Juliet Christian-Smith to transform the bewildering diversity and chaos that is current US water policy into a clear, comprehensive vision of the big issues and challenges defining the new water landscape. This is a must-read book and essential point-of-reference for anyone involved in water issues."
– Steven Solomon, author of Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization (Finalist, L.A. Times Book Prize)
"A Twenty-First Century U.S. Water Policy is certainly being published at an auspicious time, and its recommendations deserve serious consideration."
– Brett Walton, Circle of Blue
"[The authors] clearly lay out the problem and, unlike many other writers, provide readers with solutions, which makes this book an invaluable resource. Highly recommended."
Foreword by William K. Reilly
List of Acronyms
Chapter 1: The Water of the United States: Freshwater Availability and Use, Peter H. Gleick
Chapter 2: Legal and Institutional Framework of Water Management, Juliet Christian-Smith and Lucy Allen
Chapter 3: Water and Environmental Justice, Amy Vanderwarker
Chapter 4: Tribes and Water, Kate A. Berry
Chapter 5: Water Quality, Lucy Allen
Chapter 6: Protecting Freshwater Ecosystems, Juliet Christian-Smith and Lucy Allen
Chapter 7: Municipal Water Use, Heather Cooley
Chapter 8: Water and Agriculture, Juliet Christian-Smith
Chapter 9: Water and Energy, Heather Cooley and Juliet Christian-Smith
Chapter 10: Water and Climate, Heather Cooley
Chapter 11: United States International Water Policy , Peter H. Gleick
Chapter 12: Summary and Recommendations
Appendix : Federal Legislation
About the Authors
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Juliet Christian-Smith is Senior Research Associate with the Pacific Institute's Water Program and a National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science Fellow. Peter H. Gleick is Co-Founder and President of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California.