Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The Global Water Crisis

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

The Global Water Crisis

Article excerpt

Access to clean water is a major global issue of the 21st century. Although other topics may receive more media attention, experts increasingly argue that we should take note of dwindling water resources (see "On the web" for data from the World Economic Forum). Recently, water crises in California, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, and various African countries have made headlines (see "On the web").

To specifically follow the United States' water supply problems, see the New York Times "Precious Waters" series. In addition, the data-heavy U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) website provides extensive information about water resources in the United States (see "On the web").

Classroom activities

Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The Water Project have compiled high school lesson plans and activities focused on water resources (see "On the web").

You can also download a global water supply high school curriculum from the website. This curriculum includes three document-based mini-units for your students. The first, "Mock Muck," focuses on the water crisis in five countries, while the second mini-unit, "Hydro-Technology," centers on wastewater treatment. The third mini-unit, "Rising Tensions over the Nile River Basin," addresses the tragedy of the commons as related to shared water resources (see "On the web").

"Will There Be Enough Fresh Water?" is a series of five online, interactive activities about water resources from the Concord Consortium. Over two weeks, students can complete these activities in class or as homework, if they have internet access at home (see "On the web").

Although a bit dated now, the 2004 PBS documentary Thirst addresses the controversial issue of water privatization. Through the accompanying lesson plan from PBS, students can also explore the concept of "commons" and the "tragedy of the commons" (see "On the web"). Another documentary film, Blue Gold: World Water Wars, does a fantastic job of conveying the pressing nature of the global water crisis. The film discusses current and past water wars and highlights historic collapses of civilizations due to lack of water resource management. …

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