Pacific Institute Cofounder Lauded for Research and Vision on Water Issues
October 6, 2003, Oakland, CA – Dr. Peter H. Gleick, President and cofounder of the Pacific Institute of Oakland, California, was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship for his leadership and vision on global freshwater issues today.
I’m tremendously honored and excited by this recognition, said Dr. Gleick. This is acknowledgment of the vital importance of water for all of us, and of the need for new thinking and new efforts to bring safe and reliable water to the billions who lack it.
Those of us who live in the richer nations of the world take clean water for granted, while in developing countries, millions of people, many of them children, die every year from preventable, water-related diseases. Although many people and organizations are working to stem this toll, our efforts have not met the challenge; up to 76 million people could perish over the next twenty years unless we make a greater commitment to meet basic human needs for water for all.
Water is, of course, not just an issue in the developing world. In far too many places in the industrialized world, our water use is wasteful and unsustainable. Growing populations and economies, climate change, the destruction of wetlands and watersheds, and controversies over privatization and globalization are all putting severe stress on our supplies of fresh water.
But we can’t just build our way out of this bind. Traditional approaches to increasing supply building large-scale water projects like dams, reservoirs, and pipelines are too expensive and destructive to be built without first ensuring that we use water efficiently and for the right purposes.
The good news is that by using a combination of efficient technology, appropriate regulation, and innovative economics we can greatly reduce the amount of water we use without sacrificing our quality of life or our natural environment.
Dr. Peter H. Gleick will travel to Texas, Washington, and New Mexico in October to present new research on water conservation and efficiency, to discuss the global water crisis, and to chart a new, more sustainable approach to providing water for all. Dr. Gleick and the Pacific Institute are also preparing a major new study on the potential for urban water use efficiency and conservation in California.