I was very pleased to find an interview by Jo Confino in the number one position of the just published Guardian Professional list of the top five water stories of 2013. When talking with a really good interviewer you learn as interviewee at least as much from the exchange as the person asking the questions. Among other things, Jo’s article looks into the issue of how a sense of unrestricted entitlement causes irresponsible use of water and concludes: “Our attitude towards water needs to change”.
If I ask you to take a look at the article, it is also since water and the increasing risk of water shortage from overuse will continue to be my personal focus in the forthcoming Davos 2014 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (from 21 to 25 January 2014). I have the intention to report regularly on my blog about my water related events and contacts there. If you are interested please return for another visit of my blog and comment.
At last attention is being paid to water but more focus needs to be given to water and society and less to the technical aspects of water. We know now that the crisis around water is a crisis of governance and this means understanding how people engage with the resource and what it will take to build meaningful institutions at the point of use of the water so that the precious resource will be conserved, used, protected and managed. This also means the application of a gender lens because of the differentiated uses by different segments of the population. I look forward to engaging on these issues in 2014
I read with much interest the article in the Guardian and fully agree regarding our precarious attitude and approach towards water. One example in the U.S. is the Ogallala aquifer that extends across portions of eight critical agriculture states in the Midwest. Extraction far outstrips recharge rates and its impact is already being felt along the edges at the local level. It’s an alarming state of affairs yet it garners little public and policy attention.Part of the challenge is a society with abundance and inexpensive food has little incentive to be concerned. It is easy to become too far removed from necessary but scarce inputs such as water to produce food they consume. Attached is a URL of a recent journal article by two researchers at Michigan State University you may find of interest. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013EF000107/abstract. Also in May of this year there was also an article in the NY Times entitled "Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust" that talks about impacts on producers at the local level.