Water Follies Precis

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Précis – Water Follies

Purpose: This text was written in order to bring light to the fact that as the science of hydrology has grown enormously in recent years, the legality that dictates how ground and surface water may be used has been stuck in the 1800s.

Argument: There is a detrimental disconnect between science and policy regarding domestic water usage that encourages rampant misuse and exploitation. Glennon argues that the common property resource of groundwater urgently requires more regulation, and that groundwater cannot be seen as legally separate from surface water. Laws that were drafted in the 1800s certainly do not reflect the demands of modern society and legislation needs to evolve as society does. We have exerted relentless ingenuity in creating technological fixes to water scarcity when what really needs to occur is a change in policy and a change in the public mindset that water is free and abundant. Lawmakers and government officials need to step up and address this gap between law and science before it is too late.

Method: Glennon explores the crisis of water mismanagement in a series of case studies. The first two chapters provide insight into the importance of aquifers and how groundwater use/reliance in the US has skyrocketed. He then goes on to expose specific cases of key rivers and aquifers being badly misused all around the United States. After depicting each case study in detail Glennon goes on to suggest problems that have gotten us into this mess. Such as: sprawling population growth, a wasteful attitude regarding water, Tragedy of the Commons (unlimited access to CPR) and legality that encourages exploitation. With his point soundly made Glennon wraps up with a call to action to both concerned citizens and lawmakers.

Discussion: The instance of Peabody Coal’s mining pursuit on Black Mesa was most helpful to me in understanding just how negligent and foolish water use has been; particularly in arid regions of the...
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