Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Fractured Framework

Academic journal article Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy

Fractured Framework

Article excerpt

With all the talk in the political world of the impending energy crisis, we would do ourselves a favor as a nation if we did not lose sight--if it ever was in our national cross hairs--of the impending global water crisis. The global consumption of water is estimated to double in the next 20 years, more than twice the rate of expected population growth. By the year 2025, nearly two-thirds of the world's population could well be living in a condition of serious water deprivation.

These dynamics pose serious challenges to the global community, but they will be further complicated by the fact that private corporate interests, well aware of the situation, are positioning themselves to gain control of water supplies around the world and move the management of water resources from the public to the private sector. Despite myriad regulatory and legal structures, this will turn the resource from a largely common-pool resource into a private good to be sold to the highest bidder. In "Western Groundwater Wars" (FORUM, Spring 2001), Jeff Ashley and Zachary Smith remind us that in the United States, and particularly in the western states, we are not immune to the challenge of ensuring a sound supply of healthy water.

Consider the state of Florida, which is very dependent on groundwater. Florida is applying for regulatory relief from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency so it can move forward with an elaborate plan to capture rainwater and pump it--unfiltered--into underground aquifers. Pumping the potentially contaminated water into the state's precious underground aquifers poses a great risk to the supply. …

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