Our Water Is Running Out

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Our Water is Running Out Boston Globe - January 6, 2002 By Jeffrey Rothfeder For those of us who can turn on the faucet confident that there will be steady stream of clean water for bathing, drinking, cooking, washing dishes, the thought that the world could go dry seems incomprehensible. But the reality we face is sobering: water -- nature's most essential element -- is becoming dangerously scarce. A freshwater crisis has already begun that threatens to leave much of the world dry in the next 20 years, without enough water for a minimum of life. Nearly 2.2 billion people in more than 62 countries, one-third of the world's population, are starved for water. The worst…show more content…
It's no wonder that Ismail Serageldin, the former World Bank vice president, said, "The next world war will be over water." It's not too late to mend the problem. To start with, we must consider true market pricing of water in wealthier regions -- which means that people in water-poor, rich deserts like Los Angeles should pay the full tab for water imported from the Colorado River or Northern California. This will encourage conservation and the development of alternate water supply technologies such as desalination of ocean water or bulk water transfers around the world by barge, which are too expensive currently because government subsidies keep the cost of water artificially low. In addition, a portion of the water fees from affluent consumers should be earmarked for a multinational fund that supports water supply projects in poor nations. Moreover, lending agencies like the World Bank must begin to focus on local infrastructure development rather than harmful dams and diversion projects. These solutions may be difficult to accomplish, because we tend to view water as a local issue when, in fact, it is a shared resource that requires global cooperation to manage appropriately. How we respond to today's water crisis will determine whether we actually know how to survive or only know how to misuse a resource on which survival depends. Jeffrey Rothfeder's
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