Pacific Institute Calls for a National Water Commisssion
Gleick Testifies Before Congress on the Importance of a Nat'l Water Commission
"As we enter
the 21st century, pressures on United States and international water
resources are growing and conflicts among water users are worsening...
Globally, the realization is growing that the failure to meet basic
human and environmental needs for water is the greatest development
disaster of the 20th century... Yet the United States has not offered
adequate leadership in providing resources, education, and our vast
technological and financial experience to address these problems."
posted for immediate release: March 11, 2003
Experts: Global Water Crisis Calls For U.S. Leadership
National Water Commission
Needed to Head New Effort to Ease U.S., Global Water Crisis
-- The Pacific Institute today called for the creation of a National
Water Commission for the 21st Century to direct an aggressive new effort
to protect our national water resources and to advise the country on
how to best to participate in addressing the global water crisis. The
benefits of such an effort will include a stronger national economy,
improved international security, and more sustainable water use around
of people - mainly children - are dying every year from a lack of clean
drinking water," said Peter H. Gleick, an internationally-recognized
water expert and President of the Pacific Institute. "Across the
globe and even in the water-rich United States, climate change, crumbling
infrastructure, and pollution threaten our supplies of clean drinking
water. In short, never has the need for a strong U.S effort to protect
clean water been so important."
According to research
by the Pacific Institute, the United Nations, and other water experts
at least 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water,
some 2.4 billion people lack access to safe sanitation systems, and
2 to 5 million people - mainly children - die from preventable, water-related
diseases every year. In the United States, municipalities are faced
with billions of dollars of infrastructure needs and growing disputes
over the role of public and private water management. And climate change,
pollution, and development threaten water supplies across the world.
(More info: Threats to the World's Freshwater Resources)
news is, that despite the threats to clean water, we have the scientific
know-how to extend service to those who need it while protecting existing
water supplies. What we lack is a coordinated water policy in the United
States and a consistent and proactive approach to international water
issues. A National Water Commission will help the United States on both
of these counts," continued Gleick.
The proposed Commission
national water science and policy and offer guidance on integrating
efforts now scattered among disparate and uncoordinated federal agencies
revisions or better enforcement of national laws related to water and
develop recommendations for implementing overdue changes to national
flood and drought management and the management of our groundwater resources.
- Work with
appropriate agencies to identify necessary steps to ensure the physical
security of the nation's water resources and water infrastructure.
recommendations for the U.S. role in identifying and addressing global
water problems, including how to significantly accelerate efforts to
meet the large and devastating unmet basic human needs for water in
how to deal with the growing and potential severe consequences of global
climate change for both national and international water resources.
- Make recommendations for reducing the risks of international
tensions over shared water resources. This includes addressing
concerns with our own neighbors, Mexico and Canada, as
well as in international rivers.