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Peter Gleick sees growing water scarcity and conflict

As a nation we’re relatively well-endowed with water. But environmental scientist Peter Gleick warns, “the problem is that regionally we see growing scarcity. We see growing conflicts over water.”

Peter Gleick: As a nation we’re relatively well-endowed with water. But the problem is that regionally we see growing scarcity. We see growing conflicts over water.

Environmental scientist Peter Gleick is head of the Pacific Institute, a water think-tank. Gleick cites disputes between states over the water they share.

Peter Gleick: For example, between Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, over the Apalachicola-Flint river system, those three states are not in any agreement about how to share the scarce water resources for their growing populations.

Gleick’s also concerned about the water below ground.

Peter Gleick: We see declining ground water levels in many parts of the country where we’re overpumping ground water faster than nature naturally recharges it. And that’s not sustainable.

Gleick said that one problem is that our water is often managed by many different agencies.

Peter Gleick: We have very uncoordinated federal water policy. It’s time to rethink our water policy at the federal level and at the local level in a way that meets the needs of today rather than, frankly, the needs of fifty years ago.

Join EarthSky in celebrating The International Year of Planet Earth. Thanks to the National Science Foundation and US Geological Survey.

Our thanks to:
Peter Gleick
Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security
Oakland, California

Jorge Salazar

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