Meeting Our Water Needs: Domestic and International Opportunities
Thursday, February 10, 2005 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
106 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Access to affordable, clean water is an issue for communities across the U.S., as well as around the globe, with important health, economic, and security implications. Affordable water technologies play an important role in managing this often-scarce resource and in meeting the needs of growing populations, industries, and farmlands. This briefing explored the long-term resources and technology investments vital to ensuring healthy water supplies.
The ACS Science & the Congress Project and the Senate Science & Technology Caucus
Director, Global Strategy Institute
Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS)
American Water Works
Meeting Our Water Needs
ACS Capitol Connection
Senators Domenici (R-NM) and Dorgan (D-ND) gave opening remarks at a February 10 ACS Science & the Congress briefing highlighting the importance of addressing water supply and infrastructure problems now to prevent an impending crisis. Current aid levels are insufficient to meet the many challenges of providing an adequate and accessible water supply to the world’s people.
Erik Peterson, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), showed a clip from the water documentary, “Running Dry,” which gave the audience a sense of what challenges are being met on a global level. By 2025, the world’s population is projected to rise nearly 2 billion people, and most of this growth would be concentrated in water-stressed regions such as the Middle East and the African continent. Reducing supply-demand pressure, supporting infrastructure development, expanding financial resources, enabling market-based pricing, and promoting multilateral cooperation are five key solutions to these problems.
Andrew Richardson, president-elect of the American Water Works Association, spoke about domestic water issues. Currently, the U.S. does not face major challenges of water- borne disease or lack of sanitation systems, but there are supply challenges faced by the western portions of the U.S. and the growing populations of many cities, whose systems were not made to handle current demands. Small communities with declining populations are responsible for maintaining systems that are expensive and beyond their current needs. Solutions he suggested included adopting efficient management programs for our current water systems, investing in research and technology to address infrastructure problems, and examining rates charged for our current systems.
Christopher Godlove, program director at Watergy, made the connection between water and energy efficiency. A significant amount of energy is consumed for the delivery of water, and he maintained that by improving pumping systems efficiency energy, consumption would be reduced and rates of water production might increase. He also stated that energy-efficient practices such as improving pressure management and reducing leaks through the use of the use of technology would go a long way to conserve water resources.