Project Update (January 29, 2016): This project’s final discussion report, Freshwater For The Future (32 pages/841 KB), is now available to view online or download. To view online, click on the cover image to the right. To download a PDF copy, click on the preceding text link or on the blue button in the sidebar to the right.
Water, water, not everywhere… and maybe soon not a drop fit to drink. Water issues present a convergence of issues relating to population, where and how we live, how we have modified our environment, and how we produce our food, fiber, energy, and material goods. Water has been one of our primary “commons” and here in the United States has often been treated as an inexhaustible resource. Environmental indicators suggest that era is coming to an end. Water is worth discussing now as an issue that promises to be ever more prominent in the coming years.
This project will explore the public policy possibilities surrounding the issue of freshwater. We will examine how regulation, supply, and access to water shape our lives, vitality of cities, international relationships, and sense of stewardship of the planet. The various dimensions of water will include, but are not limited to: access to water, water as a natural right, riparian water rights, regulation of water supply, water as habitat (inland fisheries, biological reserves), water as security (local, national, human, food), agriculture, health of aquifers, clean water as key to public health, and water as component of community and economic development.
Outside the parameters of this project are: maritime issues and law of the sea, naval security issues, water as energy source, and the physical public works of dams, levees, jetties, harbors, canals, aids to navigation, and so on—except insofar as they relate to the freshwater dimensions above.
Telling the Freshwater
Story in Pictures . . .
In this project we will explore the types of water needs we will have in the future. We will imagine the role that public policy might play in addressing these needs. Is access to water a natural right? Do we imagine a future where everyone has as much water as he or she needs? Do we imagine societies existing in
traditionally inhospitable, arid lands? Will conflict between nations proliferate due to water demands? Will climate change force us to rethink our relationship with water? Our decisions about water have far ranging impacts. Access to water affects where and how we live, the kind of environment we have around us, and the kinds of social and economic development we achieve. Access to water has had long standing implications for gender equality, health, and mobility. So what kinds of choices might we make when it comes to thinking about policies surrounding water?
This project launched in September, 2013. Shannon is exploring the dimensions of freshwater with an international panel that spans 4 continents via online discussion and Dennis is conducting in-person panel discussions in Madison, Wisconsin. The project hopes to build in other developmental and regional discussions, including some based in Georgia and Arizona. The project anticipates seeking and collaborating with partnership organizations open to widening the reach of the public discussions of the resulting report. For more information, please contact Dennis or Shannon.
Visit our Facebook group discussion page for this project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/430160193693666/