Saturday, February 27, 2016

Time for an International Dialogue on Water Governance

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The Washington Post published an interesting article by Sarah Kaplan on bad water management in Crystal City, Texas. After nearly every town official was arrested for charges unrelated to water, the public water supply turned black and was undrinkable. This follows upon water crises in Flint, major water quality problems with Lake Erie, water shortages and entitlement in California, and significant fish kills in Long Island Sound. All of these problems are policy and governance problems caused by bad decision making and a lack of sound rule making.

These human-induced water problems are not just a problem for the United States. In Venezuela, water stops flowing from taps regularly. My family in Caracas regularly has to get water delivered by truck--if they can get it. Plus, many question the quality of the water that is delivered. In Yemen, the main aquifer that supplies water to the capital of Sana'a is running dry and will be depleted in the next few years.

No matter where you look, water quality and quantity problems are accelerating and many of the problems are caused by bad governance, bad policy, and bad decision making. It is time to more effectively assert water management within public policy and create an bolder international dialogue on water governance.

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