Water: Threats and Opportunities– Recommendations for the Next President

Published: October 9, 2008
Author: Peter Gleick

Ongoing severe drought afflicts farmers and communities in California, the southeastern states, Texas, and elsewhere. Water restrictions are being imposed to try to save water. Climate changes are altering water availability and quality. The nation’s water systems are vulnerable to terrorism. And international politics around water are increasingly affecting U.S. interests. Why don’t we hear more about water?

Many serious issues face the American people, and many pressing concerns await the next President of the United States. But water is central to policy around energy, climate change, and national security and must not be ignored. The Pacific Institute has released 16 key water policy recommendations for the next administration to consider and implement.

According to Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick, the next administration must (1) develop a comprehensive national water policy, with a new bipartisan Water Commission for the 21st Century; (2) spotlight national security issues related to water; (3) expand the role of the U.S. in addressing global water problems; and (4) integrate climate change into all federal water planning and activity.

“We have limited and unevenly distributed fresh water resources, and they are used inefficiently and ineffectively–in part because of the lack of basic national water policy,” said Gleick. “The next President faces challenges around our freshwater supply and management with diplomatic, economic, political, and public health ramifications; comprehensive and sustainable national water policy must be an early priority.” ”

Read Recommendations for the Next President (PDF)

Read the Background Material (PDF)