How to Solve America's Water Crisis

Robert Glennon, author of the new book "Unquenchable" outlines the nature of America's emerging water crisis, and how ending water subsidies could encourage efficiencies and conservation.
April 16, 2010, 9am PDT | Michael Dudley
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Treehugger's Jaymi Heimbuch interviews Robert Glennon about water misuse and wastage. Glennon argues that we're overdrawing aquifers and that agricultural uses are particularly overconsumptive.

"The carbon footprint of water is gigantic...To consider one example, 19 percent of all of the electricity used in California is for the purpose of pumping, treating, transporting, and delivering water. I do not foresee moving people out of cities, but I do predict severe environmental damage. Unsustainable groundwater pumping and excessive diversions from our rivers will reduce the quality and quantity of water, and in many places we will see earth subsidence, saltwater intrusion, and earth fissures or sinkholes.

I hope it does not come to this. There is no doubt that the United States is facing a water crisis, but a crisis is a time of opportunity when there are still choices to be made...My vision is that, if water was not subsidized, individual citizens, businesses and farmers would pay the real costs, and water would become much more expensive. After the outrage, we'd see the prices drive conservation and push waste out of the system."

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Published on Thursday, April 15, 2010 in AlterNet
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