Have you ever wondered about America's water supply? Where it comes from, how much there is in reserve… and just how precious the resource that flows freely out of our faucets really is.

Robert Glennon, Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Arizona and author of Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It, is illuminating this essential issue and providing the provocative solution of holding everyone responsible for conscious consumption, from the government to businesses to individuals.

In an interview, Glennon explains that while it has taken thousands of years for our water to store up in underground aquifers, we're going through it in decades. In the last two years, Atlanta's Lake Rainer, the water supply for 4.5 million people, came within 90 days of being dry. Meanwhile, Lake Superior, the earth's largest body of fresh water, has become so shallow cargo ships couldn’t float.

These are some of the symptoms of the crisis at large, in which Glennon offers solutions through a market-based method that considers water a commodity and a fundamental human right. He’s in favor of incentives for conservation and re-use and wants to support farmers in more efficient watering methods. His home town, Tuscon, is an example of creative conservation, diverting water used only once for second uses like on golf courses or for industry. Also, Glennon feels businesses should pay for the real cost of what they consume.

Whether you agree with all of Glennon’s ideas or not, his work brings to light the truth or our water supply, and inspires conscious use and gratitude towards this life-giving resource.

 

Image, "Water in hydrogen bond network" on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.