- Changing how we use water - Water conflicts - Water stewardship
There is still a shortage of infrastructure for capturing and distributing safe drinking water in many parts of the developing world. Since population increases are happening mostly in the developing world, new policies and stewardship is necessary.
Changes in how we use water are necessary. Ideas include: - capture more runoff - gain better access to groundwater aquifers - desalt seawater - conserve present supplies by using less water - make food production more efficient
Maintaining safe drinking water supplies and having water for irrigation is so important that water wars have ensued.
For example, in Bolivia, local people came into conflict with the World Bank who refused to support the country's food aid needs if Bolivia did not allow foreign investors. Investors were supposed to put money into providing clean drinking water, but many locals lost their access to water. Rates went up, leading to protests and eventually a change in plans.
In California, citizens protested over Sacramento Delta water rights when a federal judge ordered that less water could be pumped out where endangered fish lived. The ruling placed environmentalists in opposition to farmers and urban dwellers who had limited water supplies.
The Clean Water Act protects water quality. However, there is no national policy on water quantity or stewardship management.
Americans consume more water per individual than any other country. There have been strides in water management. Increased efficiency and better management have reduced water loss for domestic use, irrigation and industry.
Stewardship of water resources means that we consider the needs of natural ecosystems and endangered species when we make policy decisions. It also means addressing wastefulness of individual consumers and society at large. Developing a national policy on water would be very helpful in water stewardship.