FORA Environment

Season 2010 Episode 1110

A New Approach to Water Scarcity

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A New Approach to Water Scarcity
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Historically, governments have sought to shield people from the harsh reality of the natural environment, building whatever infrastructure is necessary to create the fiction of plentiful water. This approach is no longer sustainable, but what is the way ahead?Robert Simonds, Chairman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's Blue Ribbon CommitteeAs a successful film producer and relative newcomer to the water sector, Bob Simonds brings a clear-eyed business viewpoint to the complex politics of water. Water is an especially contentious issue in thirsty Southern California, where many interests vie for their share of a scarce commodity. With the costly infrastructure that has sustained life in the desert becoming ever more precarious, what new ways of thinking will have to be brought to the table?George Tchobanoglous, Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of California at DavisMost Americans are used to paying little for water and using it profligately, even in water-short areas. As the value of water becomes more apparent, prices are starting to rise. A more realistic price structure should support opportunities for more efficient water use and re-use, but is this really happening yet? What issues do we still face in attitudes towards water, and what are the technology developments that will get us to a more efficient future?Tim Loftus, Head of Water Supply Planning at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for PlanningNorth East Illinois has not historically had to worry about water conservation, but it is now firmly on the agenda. How can a region which is new to scarcity move away from a world in which water is essentially abundant and free to one in which competing uses of water must be measured against each other without resort to accelerated expenditure on infrastructure?moreless
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