On World Water Day, the Solutions Are Here

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 22, 2007

Our Biggest Water Problem, Says Gleick, Is Our Own Inertia

(OAKLAND, Calif.) Pacific Institute president Dr. Peter Gleick reflected on the state of the world’s water in anticipation of World’s Water Day 2007 (March 22).

“On this World Water Day we must remember that water is neither a conservative nor a liberal issue. Water is a human issue and the water problems we confront have a human face.

“Thousands of people, mostly children, will die from preventable water-related diseases on World Water Day 2007. And thousands have died every day since World Water Day last year. This daily tragedy is the result of the world’s failure to provide adequate drinking water and sanitation to everyone. We know how to meet basic human needs for water, but we have failed to make this a priority. It is time to take the necessary steps to prevent this needless suffering.

“In 2007, it is also clear that global climate change threatens our water resources. Extreme weather, sea level rise, and hotter and hotter temperatures threaten to alter water supplies everywhere. The climate cycle is the water cycle, and attacking and adapting to climate change requires the focus of all of our political and business leaders.

“The good news is that a lot of involved, smart, people are today coming up with solutions to our water problems. Instead of fruitless searches for the single silver bullet, they are developing many solutions to our many problems. There are lots of things that work, and they work in different places in different combinations at different times. The challenge now is to understand what those solutions are and where to apply them.

“A sustainable world, with clean water for all, is attainable. On World Water Day 2007, whether you’re a conservative, a liberal, or a fence-sitter, let’s agree to the goal of meeting basic water needs for all, and let’s commit the resources needed to reach this goal.”

Peter H. Gleick, Ph.D., is president of the Pacific Institute and editor of the biennial book series The World’s Water which celebrated its tenth anniversary in November. He is a MacArthur Fellow and member of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2007, the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security celebrates twenty years of providing research for people and the planet. Founded in 1987 and based in downtown Oakland, the Institute provides independent research and policy analysis on issues at the intersection of protecting the natural world, encouraging sustainable development, and improving global security.