Blog

Pacific Institute Insights is the staff blog of the Pacific Institute, one of the world’s leading nonprofit research groups on sustainable and equitable management of natural resources. For more about what we do, click here.

  • Hundreds of Thousands May Not Have Affordable Access to Safe Drinking Water in California

    By Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith, Senior Research Associate

    August 28, 2013 

    In 2012, California made history by being the first U.S. state to legally acknowledge a human right to water. Yet, what does it mean, in practice, to ensure that all Californians have access to safe drinking water? And, how does the state measure who has access to safe water?

    A new study from the Pacific Institute in partnership with Community Water Center and Fresno State University, Assessing Water Affordability: A Pilot Study in Two Regions of California, addresses these questions and finds that over 100,000 households in two regions (the Sacramento metropolitan area and the Tulare Lake Basin) do not have access to what is considered “affordable” water. In addition, the study finds that the current metrics that the state is using to measure affordability would not capture many of these people. These metrics focus on water affordability at the water system level, which can encompass a variety of different socio-economic groups. …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • Aligning Two Worlds: Business and the Human Right to Water and Sanitation

    By Mai-Lan Ha, Research Associate

    August 21, 2013 

    Available, Affordable, Accessible, Acceptable, and Safe – the cornerstones of the human right to water and sanitation were codified in California in 2012 with the adoption of Assembly Bill 685. California’s adoption of the right heralded another step in the progressive realization of the right to water and sanitation globally. It followed the UN General Assembly’s adoption in 2010 of a binding resolution acknowledging the right to safe drinking water and sanitation and national-level recognition of the right by countries such as South Africa, Kenya, and Belgium.

    The human right to water has been a longstanding area of work for the Pacific Institute, starting with two papers on basic human needs and water and the Human Right to Water in 1996 and 1999, respectively. …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • National Geographic ScienceBlogs: Peak Water in the American West

    By Peter Gleick, President

    August 19, 2013 

    It is no surprise, of course, that the western United States is dry. The entire history of the West can be told (and has been, in great books like Cadillac Desert [Reisner] and Rivers of Empire [Worster] and The Great Thirst [Hundley]) in large part through the story of the hydrology of the West, the role of the federal and state governments in developing water infrastructure, the evidence of droughts and floods on the land, and the politics of water allocations and use.

    But the story of water in the West is also being told, every day, in the growing crisis facing communities, watersheds, ecosystems, and economies. This isn’t a crisis of for tomorrow. It is a crisis today. What is, perhaps, a surprise, is that it has taken this long for the entire crazy quilt of western water management and use to finally unravel. But it is now unraveling. …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • Why Water Managers Should Embrace Social Media

    By Paula Luu, Communications Manager

    August 19, 2013 

    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. I don’t need to explain what social media is because chances are you’re plugged into one, if not most, of these social media platforms. And individuals aren’t the only ones engaged in social media. Eighty percent of businesses, 89% of NGOs, and 66% of government agencies are also a part of these networks– connecting, sharing, digesting, and discussing information with their followers and fans.

    But are water managers effectively using social media? …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • Where Have We Reached on Our WASH Models Journey and What Impacts Have They Made?

    By Dr. John Akudago, Senior Research Affiliate 

    August 13, 2013 

    A month ago, I blogged on “Improving Access to Water and Sanitation: Is the Answer Individual Behavioral Change?” After several reflections, thoughts on “model journeys and changes we have seen as well as travelled on this road” keep coming to mind. The answer is still not clear. Hence the need to continue to ask, “Where are we on the model journey and what changes have we seen as we travel on these journeys?”

    Fresh from college, in the mid-1990s I had the opportunity to be part of a team to develop a participatory model of rural community water and sanitation supply in Ghana. Before the participatory model era, many communities in Ghana, especially in the northern part of the country, had received water supply wells that were financed and managed by the central government. Various types of hand pumps metamorphosed (from monarch, mono, etc. types) in order to reduce the frequent breakdowns and cost of repairs. Changes in hand pumps, however, did not result in any significant increase in communities’ independence, ownership, management, and maintenance of the hand pumps, since they still had to report repair and maintenance issues to a central point which took several days to months before any decision was made as to whether to repair them or not. …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • Why Might Businesses Be Interested in Contributing to Sanitation Efforts?

    By Peter Schulte, Research Associate

    August 9, 2013

    Sanitation is quickly gaining prominence as one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century. This status is well-deserved: 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation. Inadequate sanitation is known to cause chronic health and nutrition problems, prevent children (especially girls) from receiving education, and contribute to water quality/access challenges and ecological degradation. Children living in households with no toilet are twice as likely to get diarrhea as those with a toilet. In the Global South, around 90% of sewage is discharged untreated into rivers, polluting freshwater sources used by communities, agriculture, and industry. …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • Sink Spit and Shockers: Communications in the Water World

    By Nancy Ross, Communications Director

    August 6, 2013

    Confession: It’s only a couple years ago that I started turning off the tap while I brushed my teeth. Why so late? Muscle memory – because I learned how to brush my teeth standing on a little step stool with the faucet running. And I grew up in a Hudson River town, when knee-deep snow and plentiful rainfall were the norm, and I never thought about needing to use water wisely. …»

    • Twitter
    • Facebook
  • More Comprehensive and Coordinated Global Effort Needed to Meet Global Water Challenges

    By Heather Cooley, Water Program Co-Director

    August 1, 2013

    The world’s water challenges have largely been perceived of as local issues. Yet, the scope and complexity of water-related challenges extend beyond national and regional boundaries. For example:

    • At least 780 million people do not have access to clean drinking water, some 2.5 billion people lack access to safe sanitation systems, and 2-5 million people – mainly children – die from preventable, water-related diseases every year. Widespread scarcity and lack of access to adequate water supply and sanitation threaten socio-economic development and national security for countries around the world.
      • People around the world share and exchange water directly through connected river and groundwater basins and indirectly through global trade, i.e., virtual water.

      …»

      • Twitter
      • Facebook
    • Remembering Mike Taugher

      By Peter Gleick, President

      July 31, 2013

      California water science and policy are complicated. California water issues are contentious. And good California water reporting and journalism are rare. This is the world that Mike Taugher tackled, and tackled well. It is thus with dismay and sadness that I and my colleagues learned of Mike’s all-too-untimely death last weekend. His impact will not be forgotten.

      At the time of his death, Mike was serving as a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, but before that he was one of the leading water journalists, writing for the Bay Area Newsgroup, with stories in the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, and San Jose Mercury News. …»

      • Twitter
      • Facebook
    • You are Here. Don’t Mess it Up.

      By Peter Gleick, President

      July 24, 2013

      Floating somewhere in the vast emptiness of space is our little planet. Seen from a distance of nearly a billion miles away, it is a tiny blue dot – hardly noticeable. It appears blue, in large part, because of the presence of vast oceans of rare (in the grand scheme of things) liquid water and because of the way light interacts with the thin film of atmosphere coating the Earth’s surface like the skin of a peach. Without these two vital natural resources, there would be no life as we know it.

      Until the last few decades, we have not had the opportunity to see our world as a single, unified whole. The first image of the full Earth was taken from space on December 7, 1972 by the Apollo 17 astronauts and helped change the way we see ourselves. It also helped stimulate a nascent environmental movement by bringing home the stark fact that we are not just individuals, or ethnic groups, or nation-states, but a single, isolated planet. …»

      • Twitter
      • Facebook
    Page 10 of 15« First...89101112...Last »