PUBLIC LECTURE: America's Water Crisis and what to do about it
|America's Water Crisis and what to do about it : Trepidation and Inspiration for Western Australia
A public lecture by Robert J Glennon, The Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy, Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona.
Australia and the United States are both facing a water crisis. Recent and severe droughts, especially in Western Australia and in Texas, have demanded an unprecedented response from governments and water users. Excessive groundwater pumping has lowered the water table in many aquifers as current uses are simply unsustainable. The economic costs to farmers and industry have been immense: fields fallowed, jobs lost, and projects cancelled. In both countries, there is a profound disconnect between supply and demand.
Using the National Water Commission’s September 2011 biennial report on the implementation of the National Water Initiative as a reference, this talk will offer a comparative look at how the United States is responding to the water crisis. The US has embarked on major reforms at the same time as it has pursued surreal “solutions,” including weather modification, and smugly assumed that business-as-usual will suffice.
Australia and the US share a need for more energy, but it takes a lot of water to produce energy and, conversely, a lot of energy to pump, treat, move and deliver water. Western Australia has made a major push to desalinate ocean water as has the US, but desalination is not a cure-all for the water crisis.
Glennon argues that neither the US nor Australia can engineer its way out of the problem with the usual fixes or zany—but very real—schemes. Both countries must make hard choices and Glennon’s answer is a provocative market-based system that values water as a commodity and a fundamental human right.
Professor Glennon serves as Water Policy Advisor to Pima County, Arizona; as a member of American Rivers’ Science and Technical Advisory Committee; and as a commentator and analyst for various television and radio programs as well as print and online media. His current book Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It (2009, Island Press), provides both a frightening and wickedly funny account of the tragedy—and irony—of water in America. In 2010, the Society of Environmental Journalists awarded it the Rachel Carson Book Award for Reporting on the Environment and Trout magazine gave it an Honorable Mention in its list of Must-Have Books published on the environment. 'Unquenchable' will be available for sale at the lecture.
Cost: Free, no RSVP required.
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