Irrigation Show 2008 Keynote speaker Dr. Peter H. Gleick detailed the need for new approaches to meet requirements for safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, agriculture and environmental protection.
Gleick is co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development,
Environment & Security (Oakland, Calif.).
“We have a global water crisis. We have a local water crisis,” said Gleick. “Old problems have not yet been solved, yet there are new problems facing us.”
Gleick added that there are human, environmental, and political dimensions to the water crisis. “It’s hard to think of a river that doesn’t face some sort of crisis,” he added. “Several rivers don’t reach their deltas.”
According to Gleick, climate changes will be felt globally and locally in ways we are only beginning to understand.
“We need new approaches, and we need new solutions,” he said. “It is increasingly difficult to find more water, which means we need to better manage the water we have.”
Gleick also said that it is time to stop thinking about wastewater as a liability and start thinking of it as an asset.
He indicated that there are several barriers in the way that people think about water efficiency, such as “efficiency isn’t new,” “water savings doesn’t exist,” “water savings are not real savings,” and “there is water to be saved, but we don’t know how much.”
“Let’s remove those barriers,” said Gleick. “We need to improve pricing and the markets for water so that we can do interesting things with the water we save.
“We face serious risks, but there are real effective, affordable and attractive solutions.”
For more information about the Pacific Institute, including Pacific Institute reports on water issues, visit www.pacinst.org