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The Emerging Water Crisis in the United States


"Water lubricates the American erconomy just as oil does," says Robert Glennon, author of the new Island Press book Unqunenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to Do About It. It’s hard to argue with his premise. Just as with oil, supplies of water are finite and are coming under increased stress as population increases along with demand for water.

In May, the Environmental Law Institute held an Associates Seminar to debate the premise of Glennon’s book and expand on his suggestions and findings. Afterwards, we asked the panelists plus one additional commentator to address a simple question that eschews a simple answer: What are the constraints on adequate, clean water resources for society’s varied uses, and what policy mechanisms are needed to address them in a hotter, more populous future?

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