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Running head: Water in America

Water in America: The Next Crisis

James Krupa February 2014

Water in America

Abstract This paper discusses the topic of water. It begins with an introduction on why we need to be concerned with the precarious state of our planets changing climate and what it means for the future of freshwater supplies. The paper then goes on to explore what water is, why it is important, where it is found and how we use most of it in the U.S.. The data used is the most recently available and from direct sources, such as federal and state agencies, as well as reliable non-profit and educational organizations. There are also discussions on how data is used and how it can be interpreted. Most of the data and discussion will be focused on the U.S. and geographical areas that are highly likely to affect the U.S. The laws and ethics around water are discussed, as well as possible solutions to problems we may encounter from a changing climate and freshwater shortages. Only a fraction of information relevant to this subject matter will be covered and is not meant to be a comprehensive water risk management or other report. Keywords: water, crisis, environment, natural resources, global warming, carbon emissions, risk, business, drought, economy, United States, California, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Texas, technology

Special notes: If there are any claims or objections to information published herin, please contact me for corrections or removal. This report has been compiled out of concern over a growing problem and is simply for research and no profit is intended to be generated from the information herein.

Water in America

Outline WATER IN AMERICA: The Next Crisis 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Why Worry about Water? 1.2 What is water? 1.3 The Hydrologic Cycle 1.4 Where is Water? 1.5 How do we use Water? 1.5.1 Thermoelectric 1.5.2 Irrigation 1.5.3 Everything Else 2.0 Drought 2.1 What is Drought? 2.2 Measuring Drought 2.3 Drought & Weather Patterns 2.4 Drought from Changes in the Arctic? 3.0 State of the States 1.1. California 1.2 Alaska 1.3 Washington 1.4 Oregon 4.0 State of the World 4.1 The Middle East 5.0 Water Law & Ethics 5.1 Prior Appropriation Doctrine 5.1.1 Preventing Water Wars 5.2 Riparian Rights 5.3 Federal Rights 5.4 Groundwater Rights 5.5 The Dangers in Utility 6.0 Domestic Solutions 7.0 Embracing Technology

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6.1 Existing & Future Technologies 8.0 Conclusion

Introduction Why Worry about Water?

Without water, there simply would be no life. Although 70% of our planets surface is covered by water, less than 1% is readily consumable by humans (USGS, 2012). As the planets climate changes and human populations grow, this tiny fraction of consumable water will become even less available for human consumption or to sustain the natural environment. Climate change is happening and it is putting communities, businesses and governments at risk. Droughts are becoming longer and more frequent as snowpack melts faster, causing more intense flooding. On May 9, 2013, atmosphere carbon dioxide emissions exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm), up 40% from around 280 ppm pre-industrial revolution (NOAA, 2013). The United Nations quickly issued an urgent alert to the worlds media, declaring that we have entered a new danger zone (UNFCC, 2013, p. 1). As the planet warms, freshwater will be freed-up from melting glaciers and snowmelt, but much of it will cause ocean levels to rise and rivers to flood, inundating aquifers and estuaries, altering wind patterns and affecting existing and all long-term freshwater supplies. Entire industries will be affected, as well as all those who depend on them for a living. We will experience more erratic and unpredictable weather, super-storms like Hurricane Katrina, Sandy and more recently the largest typhoon ever recorded, Haiyan. Our laws will need to be reexamined to accommodate changing needs, and our sense ethics will be

Water in America

challenged as we attempt to meet them. New technologies will be required to meet rising global demand, and most importantly, we will all need to change the way we think and behave. Every year since 2000 has been warmer than the previous and rising carbon dioxide levels have directly correlated to this, a trend that does not bode well for our future generations. As climates become warmer, electricity demand will soar as people attempt to cool their homes, further accelerating carbon emissions and the destabilization of our planets weather patterns. As more acidic carbon enters the atmosphere, our oceans will be forced to absorb as much as they can, to the point of destroying ocean eco-systems and negatively affecting entire chains of life. The global human demand for freshwater is already at or beyond capacity in many places, and as sources of freshwater such as mountain snowpack begins to shrink or completely disappear, large human populations will be at serious risk for water shortages. The Earths human population is predicted to surpass 9 billion by 2050 according to the United Nations (2005), and much of the population will depend on freshwater from sources that may not exist in another 100 years. Water is our most valuable resource, and safeguarding it for future generations requires education and cooperation from businesses, governments and individuals.

What is Water?
Water is a unique substance that is responsible for most, if not all life that is known or believed to exist in the Universe. Every living thing is made up of cells which rely on water to dissolve, distribute and excrete solids. Water is unique for many reasons, but most importantly because it can exist in several forms that work to refresh and sustain our planet. Water can exist as a solid like ice, a liquid or gas. Water serves as the perfect medium for solids to dissolve in and be transported through, as demonstrated by the human body. In-fact, the human body consists of between 55-78% water, of which with just 15% dehydration, we would die within

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days (EPA Water, 2012). The brain alone is composed of around 95% of water. Most of the foods we eat are made mostly of water. Fruits and vegetables are over 80% water. Chemically speaking, water is made from two elements intensely compounding together: hydrogen and oxygen. Water molecules consist of two hydrogen atoms connected to one oxygen atom. These water molecules, or H20, form hydrogen bonds when they come into contact with one another, which is why we can have vast oceans of bonded water molecules. Covalent, or strong bonds, hold the slightly positively-charged hydrogen and slightly negatively-charged oxygen together using shared electrons. Weak hydrogen bonds allow water to separate temporarily, as it rolls downstream through rocks, or as people, fish or boats move through it; or, as molecules attached to compounds as water acts as a solvent. At around 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, the hydrogen bonds of water begin to change as it becomes denser, while it expands by around 9% as freezing

Figure 1 causes water to sink below any ice (Water Resources, 2012). Yes, those giant ice glaciers are floating atop of water because they are molecularly less dense, allowing for a sort of insulating effect to occur without freezing the entire body of water, which explains why so much life can exist beneath iced over lakes or glaciers. Without this amazing feature of water, entire bodies of water would freeze solid below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. Massive glaciers and land mass can exist, because as water molecules warm, the rate of expansion is significantly less than occurs as water freezes -- another amazing feature of water that also serves to help reflect a

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large amount of solar radiation that would otherwise cause our planet to be inhospitable to humans. Water becomes a gas vapor when it is heated with a tremendous amount of energy that breaks the hydrogen bonds and carries the gases into our atmosphere. In the atmospheric vapor form, water captures energy reflected from the Earths surface as a greenhouse gas, and helps to keep temperatures moderately warm. Some water vapor condenses into moisture in clouds as part of the Earths water cycle shown in Figure 2 below.

The Hydrologic Cycle

When clouds develop enough condensation from water vapor at cooler altitudes, hydrogen atoms become more structured and liquid water is formed and we have rain through precipitation. Water exists in the air even when there are no clouds, and we typically only see water in the form of clouds when molecules attach to other substances such as dust particles or salt (The Water Cycle, 2013). We can also see water when our glasses fog up as we exit a cool house in the hot summer, or when the ground surface is hotter than cool air moving in and fog blankets an area. Water is always present, even when we think it is too hot or dry. The water cycle is a way our planet recycles and refreshes water so that it never becomes stagnant and is always able to sustain and refresh life for the millions of species that depend on it daily.

Figure 2

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The diagram above shows how water first evaporates from oceans, lakes and streams, and into the atmosphere as vapor before it cools and condenses within clouds. After the water vapor condenses enough for the hydrogen bonds to become more structured and turn into water, it falls back to the surface through precipitation. This falling water goes back into the oceans, lakes and streams where it came from, but first it soaks through soil and flows through rocks where it creates and sustains an abundance of life on the Earths surface. Water also has an interesting feature called surface tension whereby it interacts with soil, causing water to rise up to the surface in an effect called capillary action, as water flows away from gravity and up to the roots of the plants and trees that depend on this amazing force of nature (Water Resources).

Where is Water?
Water covers 70% of the Earths surface and can be found in the hydrosphere and cryrosphere, as well as the biosphere. The hydrosphere is part of the Earths geosphere, which also contains the lithosphere, where solid Earth exists; the atmosphere, where gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapors exist, and the cryrosphere where glaciers, snow cover, frozen ice and permafrost lock-up most fresh water. Permafrost alone covers 18% of land in the Northern Hemisphere, helping to reflect powerful solar radiation waves back into space (USGS, 2012). The geosphere permits all life to exist harmoniously within the biosphere, but all life within it depends on an equilibrium, which for thousands of years has existed between the subcomponents of the geosphere. The biosphere contains all living things, which are mostly made of water. About 97% of the water that covers the Earths surface is too salty for human consumption, leaving just 3% as freshwater, and less than 1% of that 3% is consumable by humans (USGS, 2012). Most of the fresh water on Earth is locked-up in ice and snow in areas such as Antarctic, the Arctic, Greenland, and mountain tops like Mount McKinley in Alaskas

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Denali Park and Mount Rainer in Washington State. Around 90% of the Earths ice is found in Antarctica, which represents about 70% of our planets fresh water -- all locked up in between 8,858-15,748 feet thick of ice, where temperatures can reach minus 128 degrees Fahrenheit (USGS, 2013).

Figure 3 Mount McKinley, the tallest in the U.S., gets about 15 feet of snow per year, while around one million acres of surface in Alaska is covered by glaciers according to the National Park Service (2013). There is clearly a tremendous amount of freshwater that is locked-up in ice, where some slowly melts and provides water for electricity and human consumption over long periods, and other places, like remote glaciers and Antarctica, where humans may never be able to go.

How do we use Water? #1 Thermoelectric Power

Every five years the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) issues a report identifying how Americans use water. Thermoelectric power generation and irrigation were identified in this report as the top two consumers of freshwater supplies, followed by public supply and domestic uses. Thermoelectric power water withdraws were estimated by the USGS in 2005 to be around 201 billion gallons per day (b/gal day), or 41% of all freshwater withdraws in the U.S. The report also shows that surface water accounted for 99% of these withdraws, with 70% being freshwater and 30% saltwater. The thermoelectric industry currently provides 90% of the electricity supply

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to the United States. Thermoelectric power plants produce electricity by generating steam. A single 500 Mega Watt coal-fired thermoelectric power plant might use over 12 million gallons of freshwater per hour for cooling, while around 67% of thermoelectric plants were recorded by the Department of Energys National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) as being coal-fired as of 2005 (Shuster, 2009). Figure 4 above shows how these facilities work.

Figure 4 The water that is withdrawn from the environment cools the facilities and then it must be cooled itself before being released back into the stream, river, lake or ocean it came from. Different regions of the U.S. are controlled by special non-profit councils created in 2005 by the Department of Energy to regulate the power supply and reliability in each respective region. New York State currently diverts 70% of its freshwater supplies to hydroelectric power plants. Figure 5 shows a map of how these councils are divided according to the region they provide power to and the number of plants per region. Some of these councils extend into Canada.

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The Southeastern Reliability Council (SERC) is the largest consumer of freshwater supplies for thermoelectric power plants, followed by the East Central Area Coordination Agreement (ECAR) according to the USGS (2009). These strong regional appetites for freshwater in generating electricity have come at a serious cost to the environment and entire communities. For instance, Georgia, Alabama and Florida are still battling each other in court over what some believe is Atlantas overuse of freshwater supplies for electricity and irrigation. The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee Flint River Basin is a massive basin that begins near Atlanta, Georgia and extends south down to the Gulf of Mexico. Before it reaches the Gulf, it supplies

Figure 5 water to millions of acres of estuaries, aquifers, lakes and streams. The problem is, because of Atlantas nearly 450,000 citizens huge appetite for water and electricity, the south is beginning to dry up and entire communities and the environment are suffering. Atlantas population is projected to grow by an additional one million people by 2030 according to the Atlanta Regional Business Coalition (Sengstacken, 2013). Figure 6 below shows just how massive the Flint River Basin is, and allows one to imagine the impact that will be as the area enters into long-term drought conditions. In 2008, Atlanta almost ran out of drinking water as the Army Corps of Engineers released water from Lake Lanier during a severe regional drought. Thermoelectric

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power and irrigation is literally causing regional conflict now and may only increase in the future if action is not taken by state planners, farmers and individuals who consume freshwater. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has made several recommendations for preventing a future freshwater crisis in this region. Some of their recommendations include:

Figure 6 increasing electricity generation efficiency, increasing renewable generation, increased use of dry/hybrid cooling technologies; recycling water within the thermoelectric power plant by capturing the vapor; using degraded water from plant discharge, storm water flows, saline aquifers and coastal water supplies such as oceans (Energy & Water, 2010). When most of the power our nation gets is from freshwater, a finite resource that is slowly disappearing, we all must do our part to better manage how we use water, and consider how we virtually export it.

How Do We Use Water? #2 Irrigation & Agriculture

The number two cause of freshwater withdraws in the United States behind thermoelectric power is irrigation. Out of the 410 billion gallons of water used per day in the United States -- California, Idaho, Texas and Florida account for 25% of consumption. Idaho uses 2.5 billion gallons of water per day simply for raising farm fish (USGS, 2009). In one day,

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California uses an estimated 24.4 billion gallons of water, or one fifth of all irrigation water consumed in the United States daily for agriculture according to the U.S. Geological Survey (2009). California has an estimated 9 million acres of irrigated land, using about 32 million acrefeet per year of freshwater supplies (Shaw, 2005). Idaho is the second largest consumer of freshwater for irrigation, and Colorado the third. A study released by the USDA in September of 2012, showed that in 2007, 54.5% ($78.3) of all crops sold in the U.S., were from nearly 57 million acres of irrigated farms (Schaible & Aillery, 2012). In 2009, 77.5 million acres of land were planted with soybeans, accounting for 23.7% of all irrigated crops according to the USDA (2012). In 2011, farm exports from the U.S. totaled $137.4 billion, supporting an estimated 1.5 million jobs domestically. In 2012, the U.S. exported 8.6 million tons of soybeans to China, or $4.3 billion worth (USDA, 2012). The question we need to ask after seeing this data, is whether or not it is worth it for us to allow China to preserve their freshwater supplies and land, while importing virtual water and land on the cheap from the United States through crops. While heavily subsidized farmers use tremendous amounts of freshwater supplies and land to irrigate their crops, our environment suffers and our future supplies of freshwater are put at risk. Jobs are created, and a few people become very wealthy, but looking at the long-term picture it is not worth it to allow other countries to import our land and water, saving themselves billions in costs. Part of the reason for backwards tendencies is backwards policies crafted by backwards politicians who can hardly see beyond their campaign contribution checks. For instance, the corn industry receives relatively large subsidies from the federal government to produce ethanol in an alleged effort to combat global warming caused by burning fossil fuels; however, so many natural resources like oil and huge amounts of fresh water and fertilizers are used to grow this corn, and then the runoff pollutes our rivers, lakes, streams and even creates massive Dead-

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zones in the Gulf of Mexico. And so, we need to pause for a moment and ask ourselves why we are not questing the wisdom of our elected leaders, or why, we are not crafting and proposing alternative trade and market pricing concepts that would benefit Americans more than foreign governments and a select group of corporate farmers who benefit most.

How Do We Use Water? #3 Everything Else

Of the fractional amount of drinkable water on the Earths surface, considerable amounts are being wasted on frivolous uses such as watering lawns, filling pools and washing cars. Bottling factories and water filtration plants also waste billions of gallons of fresh water yearly. In the U.S., personal use of water is equivalent to around 100-176 gallons used per household each day, contrasting sharply with just 5 gallons used by the average African household according to the Water Information Program (2012). In places like Las Vegas, where the natural environment is a dry, arid desert, it is almost unethical to have a front lawn, swimming pool or golf course especially considering the city is running out of water and planning to divert billions of gallons more from other parts of the state just to meet the needs of this city. Golf courses alone use 7.6% of fresh water supplies in Las Vegas, while single family households account for 44.5% (Southern Nevada, 2009). With a changing climate, the way we use water on a daily basis will become more important to governments as more frequent and longer droughts force states and local governments to change how they currently use water, and how they will allow water to be used in the future. Drought is the main threat facing states in the West.

Drought What Causes Drought?

Drought is what happens when we run out of water flowing from our mountains, rivers, lakes, streams, ponds and other sources. When we hear about drought affecting some state or county on the news, we automatically think of extremely dry weather, low water tables, and calls

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for water conservation. Some experts may even feel inclined to alarm the public in declaring the planet is warming from human activity or natural phenomena. Many claims of global warming from human activity can be scientifically justified, as is the case of data showing C02 measurements in the atmosphere directly correlating with human development and our use of coal-fired power plants and other fossil-fuel emissions. We should, however, keep in mind that many of the extremes we experience now in our weather have been occurring since before humans existed, although at a much slower rate and were not directly correlated with rises in atmospheric C02, massive holes in the Ozone layer, a thinning atmosphere and rising global ocean temperatures and mass extinction of species. The science and data show that something is seriously wrong with how we are managing our resources and environment and that the change is happening faster than ever before. For the skeptics out there, yes forests did once grew where Lake Tahoe, California now exists, and paleoclimatic data from measurements such as tree rings and stream-flow reconstructions do show that much more extreme weather occurred on our planet long before humans had cars and coal-fired power plants (Drought in California, 2012). However, because there is no absolute certainty over the causes of drought or global C02 spikes we see now, perhaps it would be wise to focus our attention on the real data we can see and interpret now, and then focus on being prepared for a real and inevitable increase in natural disasters such as a warming planet, drought, rising sea levels, super-storms and wild fires.

How do we Measure Drought?

For each state, county and municipality, there are various measures that may be used to determine whether or not a geographical area is in drought, and there are varying definitions of drought depending on who is measuring for it and what their baseline is. Natural variability in

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the weather has gone from what we consider extreme today to much more extreme than we could ever imagine, in the past. The planets climate is always changing and global warming skeptics are always quick to point that out. For scientific purposes, however, there is scientific consensus on defining certain measures to determine how severe the weather changes are. For example, meteorological drought can be defined by measurements from a specific time period where precipitation has fallen below what is considered normal. Measurements of hydrologic drought would look at a time period where there was below average runoff. Measurements of specific water uses, like streams or rivers can also be used to determine if a particular area is in a drought. Because of the many different ways drought can be measured, one must look carefully at the data being measured before jumping to conclusions or making suggestions for improving the conditions. Broad measurements, like those used by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) in Lincoln, Nebraska, typically measure winter snowfall in the mountains when available, how well crops are doing in specific geographical areas, reported water shortages and/or restrictions put in place, damage level to crops as reported by farmers, and finally scientific measurements of water levels in reservoirs, streams and wells.

Figure 7

Figure 8

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Looking at Figures 7 and 8, California was mostly in drought during Septe2013. Data can sometimes be used to appease a special interest or political agenda; therefore, knowing how, when and why data is taken prevents conjecture and opinions from making its way into government planning. When it comes to measuring drought, this can be true depending on what style and type of measurement we use, as well as when we take the measurements. For instance, another popular measurement in the scientific community looks at the balance between moisture demand and moisture supply. The Palmer Z Index measures moisture conditions for a specific month, whereas the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index and Palmer Drought Severity Index depict a specific months cumulative moisture conditions over several months (NCDC, 2013). Depending on what measure we look at, or what someones political agenda may be, different conclusions can be drawn. The figures below show the month of September of 2013 as being mostly normal to moderately moist, while Figure 9 shows mostly severe to extreme drought for the same month.

Figure 9

Figure 10

This may cause confusion among most people, especially if the NCDC attempts to explain this map to the general public on their website, saying that short-term dry conditions, along with

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some long-term dry conditions in certain areas, mixed with certain areas that had long-term wet conditions, dried out the west coast (2013). Data can be confusing to most.

Drought & Weather Patterns

Depending on the geographical location, there are many different causes of drought, while large-scale drought conditions are typically brought on by anomalies in weather patterns. Drought conditions on the west coast of the United States, for example, depend largely on weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean, and even on the Arctic Oscillation -- a northern weather pattern that will be explained later in this paper. According to Californias Department of Water Resources (CDWR) California depends most on an atmospheric high pressure belt that shifts southwards and pushes storms in the Pacific Ocean inwards to bring moisture to most of the state (2012). The CDWR states that a persistent high pressure zone over California during the peak winter water production months predisposes the water year to be dry (Drought, p. 6). Monitoring weather patterns and how they are changing can give scientists a good idea of what type of weather a particular geographical area will be like in the following weeks and months. The worry now is that global climate change is beginning to show irrefutable evidence that weather patterns such as El Nio, which brings warm temperatures, and La Nia, which brings colder temperatures, are changing for the worse, negatively affecting many countries by contributing to larger, more intense and more extreme weather with little to no warning. These global weather changes are not only being claimed by environmentalists or liberals, rather they are being measured and documented by scientists around the world. Meteorological research from 2002-03 shows that rising ocean temperatures in the Pacific have shifted the El Nio/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) away from the east and towards the central equatorial Pacific, causing long-term droughts in places like southeast Australia and California,

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and affecting rainfall in East Africa, India, and Indonesia (as cited in Richardson, 2011). Changing weather patterns in the ocean have also been attributed to a sudden and extreme water heat wave that destroyed many marine ecosystems and bleached large areas of coral off of Australias west coast in 2011, shortly after the Leeuwin Current which pushes warm waters south, failed to do just that (as cited in Feng, 2013). In 2012, many parts of Australia experienced record breaking high temperatures as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit, while central areas experienced up to 127 consecutive days without any water (Blunden & Arndt, 2013). Changes to wind patterns over the oceans will affect the entire world. The International Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007 that rising C02 levels are causing tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases to become trapped in the atmosphere and are pushing global temperature up rapidly in the context of time. Oceans temperatures are increasing and wind patterns and pressure zones are beginning to reflect this. Air movements are dependent on ocean water temperatures, which researchers have shown has experienced dramatic and relatively sudden changes in the past 50 years. Increasing changes in El Nio/ La Nia, activity will continue to contribute to increased droughts, flooding and super-storms as weather becomes more extreme and unpredictable.

Drought from Changes in the Artic?

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) issued a report in 2013, and in it includes scientific data showing 2012 as a year of extreme weather contributing to extremely dry or wet, and/or extremely cold or warm weather. Extreme cold temperatures in northern Africa, western China, and Eastern Europe were blamed on changes in the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation has two phases, either positive or negative (shown in figure 11), according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). During the positive phase, ocean storms are

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carried further north, causing drought conditions in places like California and wet conditions in places like Alaska, while the eastern part of the United States becomes warmer (Patterns in Arctic Weather, 2013). The negative Arctic Oscillation phase causes the opposite effect on weather patterns, where storms are carried to more populated regions and weather becomes colder in Europe and North America, which was exactly what occurred from winter 2009

Figure 11 to winter 2010 as NSIDC researchers noted it was the longest negative phase on record (2013). The Arctic Oscillation also affects sea ice levels according to the NSIDC, which researchers also happened to record in 2012 as being at the lowest sea ice extent in recorded satellite history (2013). A negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) pushed southerly winds north in 2012, and contributed to record snow cover melt, record Greenland Ice Sheet melt, and rapid melting of glaciers and ice caps in Canada and the 4th warmest winter on record in the United States and the lowest recorded spring snow cover for Eurasia (Blunden & Arndt, 2012).

State of the States California

The western and southern states are most at risk from climate change in terms of water supply shortages and drought, while states further north will be inundated with water from melting snowpack and glaciers before their supplies run dry. Snow currently provides 75% of the

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Western United States with fresh water supplies according to USGS (2013). Unfortunately, the state of California has been in drought conditions for much of the 21st century because of changing weather patterns. Longer, more intense droughts and heat-waves will take a heavy toll on Californias agricultural sector and power industry. Humans will be put at risk for dehydration and heat stroke, especially amongst elderly populations and young children. Recreational activities will also be affected. Global warming and rising sea level data have also been modeled to result in a decrease in late-spring stream flow by around 30%, a 25% reduction in water available for the agricultural sector for irrigation, and an influx of saltwater throughout Californias aquifers, wetlands and estuaries ultimately affecting a major source of freshwater supply that now exists in the Sacramento / San Joaquin River Delta and supplies 25 million people with freshwater (, 2013). Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is expected to shrink between 70 & 90% this century if global temperatures continue to rise as they have in the past 50 years (Snowpack, 2013). Power production in California relies on hydropower for about 15% of supply, and although short-term projections may show an increase in precipitation and hydropower supply due to melting snow and glaciers, the long-term scenario for slow, reliable snowpack melt for power production is bleak as financial costs from flooding lakes, rivers and streams soar and as lakes, rivers and streams run dry (Franco & Sanstad, 2006). Fortunately, California is actively planning for climate change by funding programs and research and enacting legislation. One program, the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, works in partnership with 25 state and federal agencies. According to CALFED, the program has four main goals: ecosystem restoration, levee system integrity, water supply reliability, and water quality. More than 60% of Californias freshwater passes through the Bay-Delta, which hosts

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one of the largest estuaries in the country according to CALFED (2007). The San-Joaquin River Delta supplies water to one of the nations largest multi-billion dollar agricultural industries, drawing on water supplied by the Delta, and competing with the natural environment and water supplies for human consumption and hydropower. The San Francisco Bay area relies on the SanJoaquin River Delta for two-thirds of its freshwater supply according to the Santa Clara Valley Water District (2013). CALFED is working to prepare the states agricultural industry and power infrastructure for reliable water supplies when traditional sources begin to shrink or completely fail. The states Public Utilities Commission is also making it easier through legislation, for private investors to build photovoltaic systems to produce and provide energy to supplement traditional sources, and to promote energy efficiency (Franco & Sanstad, 2006). In 2006, state legislators passed a Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) in order to establish greenhouse gas emission reduction targets into 2050, and to establish a greenhouse gas registry and voluntary carbon market (Cal-Adapt, 2013). In 2009, California developed the California Climate Adaptation Strategy to advise state agencies on how to best adapt for climate change. California is approaching climate change by planning to ensure water supplies are guaranteed in every scenario possible, and building the necessary infrastructure to support such plans. Many other affected states are developing contingency plans to prepare for the effects of climate change.

Alaska is now experiencing serious problems from climate change, but this state is also working with the federal government and others to develop strategies that protect human lives and guarantee fresh water supplies. Out of all the states, Alaska has had the largest regional warming, with a rise in annual temperatures of around 3 degrees Celsius since the 1960s and 4.5 degrees Celsius in winter (as cited in Kyle & Brabets, 2001, p. 18). Alaska has thousands of

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rivers, creeks and streams, as well as around three million lakes and 44,000 miles of tidal shoreline all of which are inhabited by 392 communities (Army Corps of Engineers, 2009). Out of the 392 communities in Alaska, 178 reported they are experienced erosion issues from rising water levels and increased precipitation. In some coastal communities, reports indicate that coastal ice is now forming later in the year than previously, making the community highly susceptible to coastal-lashing storms. In Kivalina, Alaska, for example, there is one community where the Army Corps predicts extreme damagewithin 10 years (2009). In other communities like Kotlik, the Corps predicts 60 percent of village structures are at risk, because they are experiencing three feet of river erosion per year as more water flows in from melting snow and glaciers (2009). Unfortunately, the state of Alaska has no programs to mitigate disasters from land erosion, although the Army Corps of Engineers has pointed out in its report, that the U.S. Flood Control Act of 1946 allows for the Army to help restore stream banks in a cost sharing program, where 35% would be covered by non-Federal funds (2009). The Corps also noted that the U.S. Water Resources Development Act of 1974, allows the Corps to conduct water resource studies in a cost sharing program where 50% would be paid for with non-Federal funds. Finally, the U.S. River and Harbor Act of 1962 permits up to $3 million Federal dollars to protect against storm surge and hurricanes in coastal areas only, but would require 35% of the costs to be paid by non-Federal sources (Army Corps, 2009). In 2007, Alaskas Governor agreed to participate in the Western Climate Initiative between the Governors of Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington in order to prepare for the challenges of climate change. The Governor of Alaska also signed Administrative Order No. 238 in 2007, an order that formed the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet in order to

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develop state policies in anticipation of more serious effects from climate change (State of Alaska, 2011). A study in 1998 by Glenn P. Juday of the University of Alaska Fairbanks showed how a warming climate since the 1970s has affected Alaskas forests. Juday found that around two to three million acres of forest were impacted by beetles that have rapidly reproduced from a warmer climate (1998). Alaska is not the only state experiencing this problem, most of Canada is as well. When forests disappear, erosion is hastened and flooding worsened, but with climate warming, drought must also be considered even in traditionally wet areas. Millions of waterfowl and shorebirds make their way to Alaskas surface waters and wetlands such as the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge for their annual breeding rituals. Unfortunately, the EPA reports that many of Alaskas closed-basin lakes, without any stream inputs or outputs, are drying up from climate change (Alaska Impacts, 2013). The most dramatic affects can be seen from satellite images taken over a 50 year period from 1950 to 2000 as shown below in Figure 9.

Figure 12

Warming waters will also present challenges to many cold water fish, which fail to grow and/or migrate when temperatures exceed 20 degrees Celsius because of a forced increase in their metabolic rate (Kyle & Brabets, 2001). Alaskas economy is supported by seafood to a

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large extent, and those who work in this industry will be negatively affected by climate change and disappearing lakes. In 2011, a research report by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, found that 94,000 Alaskan seafood workers earned $2.8 billion in 2011, while exporting $6.4 billion worth of seafood internationally (2013). This report by McDowell Group also noted that the economic benefits this industry provided has tremendous multiplier effects worth an estimated $15.7 billion for the U.S. economy alone, and accounts for about 10% of total U.S. seafood supply, while providing one in seven Alaskans with a job (2013). Alaska cannot afford not to take action now to address climate change and water management strategies through political action and cooperation with other states and the federal government.

For many, it is hard to imagine Washington as having drought or other water worries, considering September of 2013 was recorded as being the wettest month on record according to the National Climate Data Centers (NCDC) data (2013). The NCDC also noted in its monthly report, that the U.S. average national temperature was 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, with September being recorded as the 6th warmest and 12th wettest on record. So, why should anyone worry about water in Seattle? There clearly is no shortage there not yet anyhow. State planners and water managers are looking at the average global warming trends and are attempting to model future weather trends; and these trends do not look good. First, Washington State is concerned that their increased precipitation and temperatures are from climate change that is melting glaciers and snowcaps faster than normal, causing more intense and more frequent rainfall and presenting future challenges for water managers. The NCDC reported noted 2012 as being the warmest year for the planet on record. Washington state officials are worried about

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future droughts and flooding because the state depends on snow pack and glaciers for water supply, and even though abundant amounts of water from melting has been seen during the early spring, it does not exist when summer arrives as it should, contributing to droughts and wildfires. Consumer water supplies are not the only concern from abnormal temperatures and rainfall. About 72% of Washington States electricity is generated by hydropower, and as temperatures warm, demand for electricity is shifting towards summer months rather than winter months (Climate Change Effects, 2013). Out of the 78,000 megawatts of hydropower generated in the United States each year, more than half is generated in Washington, Oregon and California (Hydropower, 2011). The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported that the Grand Coulee Dam on the states Columbia River is the largest hydropower producer in the country, averaging out at 6,809 megawatts (2012). Columbia River is no stranger to the effects of climate change. In 2001, this important river experienced low flows from hotter than average temperatures. Young salmon were unable to migrate to the Pacific Ocean, and older fish were unable to reproduce and raise young because of warming water, just as is happening and has happened in Alaska and other states being affected by climate change (Warmer Temperatures, 2012). The States Department of Ecology also reported that 21 million acres of Washingtons forest, or double the annual harvest from all logging activities in Canada, were lost to increasing pests such as the pine bark beetle, which are now reproducing more often and for longer because of warming temperatures (2012). The picture becomes clearer the deeper we dig into the effects of climate change all is not well with our planet. If the states rivers run dry, they will need to resort to less environmentally friendly energy sources such as coal, and the fishing and logging industries will suffer, as well as all the small businesses that depend on what they produce.

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Washington State officials, nonprofits and individuals have begun to take steps to mitigate the effects of climate change on the states fresh water supplies. In 2007, the state established official policies and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and focus on growing a new environmentally friendly economy. A cornerstone regional policy was initiated by Washington State, called the Western Climate Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The initiatve includes six other states and four Canadian provinces. Some of the states policies included tougher emission standards on 2009 and above model vehicles, new building standards for improved energy efficiency, new rules forcing new or expanding fossil fuel power plants to reduce 20% of c02 emissions, new energy conservation programs and appliance standards, and a requirement than ethanol be used in gas and diesel fuels (What Were Doing, 2011). The Electrify Transportation Washington Group includes cities, counties, utilities and others in order to help draft policies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels for our transportation sector. Seattles Mayor Nickels led a nationwide effort that included 900 mayors who have all agreed to a 12-step program that is designed to meet or exceed standards set by the Kyoto Protocol, including a 7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions according to the Department of Ecology (2011). Washington State also formed the Washington Climate Action Team, which engages businesses, community members, non-profits and environmental organizations in order to develop new strategies and policies to reach the states ambitious climate change goals. Washington State is clearly a leader in climate change mitigation and efforts to protect and preserve the environment.

Oregon shares many of the same climate change effects as Washington State does, due to its close proximity and shared resources in-terms of water supplies. Unfortunately, the states leadership is not as information or technology adapted as Washington State, to deal with climate

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change problems or mitigate the effects it will have in its industries and water supplies. The Whitehouse recently issued a scathing report titled: The Threat of Carbon Pollution: Oregon. The report is highly critical of the states poor management of the environment and its resources. The Whitehouse report on Oregon reports that in 2011, power plants and industrial facilities emitted over 10 million metric tons of carbon pollution. The Whitehouse report goes on to mention that in 2012, the state had one of the shortest winters and least amount of Spring snowcover on record, and that in 2011 there were 2,000 hospital admissions for asthma with an average charge of over $14,000 for each stay (2013). In 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was forced to designate 23 counties as natural disaster areas after record freezing temperatures, snow fall and freezing rain swept the state. On a more positive note, Governor Kulongoski signed House Bill 3543 into law on August 7, 2007. The law was designed to halt increases in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, then reduce them to 75% pre-1990 levels by 2050 according to the states Department of Energy (2007). This bill also established a Global Warming Commission which is responsible for making recommendations for ways to reduce greenhouse gases and study a cap-and-trade carbon scheme. The state is also developing educational strategies and created the states first Climate Research Institute. Oregons Global Warming Commission released a report in August of 2013, claiming to have met HB3543S mandate to halt increases in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. The Commission also reported that regulators came to an agreement with General Electric to terminate coal burning by the end of 2020; however, other companies such as PacifiCorp continues to burn coal to supply electricity to 2/3rds of Oregons power consumers, and the company has no plans to decrease its coal burning activities according to the Commission. In late 2011, Governor Kitzhaber created a Ten Year Energy Action Plan, setting goals for statewide energy efficiency, smart energy and a

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greener public transportation system (Oregon Global Warming, 2013). Oregon also developed the Integrated Water Resources Strategy in August of 2012. The strategy calls for more research of the states river basins, streams, accounting for water quantity and quality, as well as the needs of local ecosystems in-terms of water supplies. Oregon is making efforts to get up-to-speed with neighboring Washington in-terms of information it has on environmental issues, but the state is clearly lacking in information its citizens needed a decade ago in order to be adequately prepared for climate change, and a future with less water.

State of the World The Middle East

This paper will look at the state of water issued around the world that will likely affect the United States in the coming years. The United States will likely be drawn into conflicts all over the world, as surface and underground water supplies continue to dwindle and civil unrest provokes nations to war. What is needed now is economic and political support for existing initiatives that will promote equitable distribution of water resources in regions of the world where conflict over water is brewing. Many Western leaders may fail to adequately prepare for coming water conflicts or work to prevent them now, considering water supplies are abundant in many parts of Europe and Americas northeast. It is difficult for Western politicians who live and work near lush forests and large rivers such as Americas Potomac or Germanys Rhine, to imagine a future where wars erupt over water. This preventable crisis is very likely to occur this first half of the 21st century without political action taken now to prevent it, and will thus require American intervention something we may not be able to afford in the future. One conflict over water that is now brewing and can be resolved with political action and financial support now, takes place in the Middle East. Israel is one of our strongest unofficial allies in the region, and is highly dependent on water, as is another ally of ours, Jordan. Both

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countries compete for scare water supplies from the Galilee Sea and Jordan River with Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria, whom they share riparian water rights with but continue to have disagreements over inequitable distribution. Americans are historically reluctant to go to war in another part of the world, especially when there is no imminent threat to America. However, we are bound by formal and informal treaties, to assist allies if their territory is ever attacked, as reiterated by President Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 elections when asked if we would support Israel in the event they were attacked. Conflict over water resources in the Middle East has already happened in the past, and persists today as one of the divisive issues between Israel and its neighbors. War is thus inevitable if action is not taken to prevent it, especially as more water is being used now, than is being naturally produced and as human populations and water needs continue to explode in this region. Water is disappearing from this region faster than ever. In Jordan, where more than 80% of the population lives within the Lower Jordan River basin, the natural flow of water has been significantly reduced due to excessive agricultural and drinking water needs from regional countries. Before the dramatic development and population explosion in the region, the Jordan river flow rate into the Dead Sea was recorded by hydrologists as being between 1,100 and 1,400 million cubic meters per year, and since then has been halved every 20-30 years, causing an eight-fold reduction of water volume in the Dead Sea (out of water, p. 19). To make matters worse, urban expansion and agricultural development have removed most natural forests in the area and replaced them with unsustainable agricultural plantations that exhaust the soil and water supplies, negatively affect biodiversity and cause costly environmental damage. In the 1940s the Jordan River Basins Jordanian population was less than 500,000, while today it is recorded as 6.3 million, and Israels population is now about 7.9 million according to the World Bank

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(2012). Jordans explosive growth during the 1970s and 1980s was attributed to heavy agricultural exploitation of water resources, which today are becoming scarce as groundwater resources disappear and aquifers are overexploited to the point where salt concentration is higher than in the oceans (Courcier, Venot & Molle, 2005). Nearly 98% of all water from the Jordan River is now diverted from the Dead Sea for agricultural or personal consumption, which has contributed to a 108 feet drop in water level in the Dead Sea and a virtual wipeout of many local and migrating species that once depended on water in the Lower Jordan River region (Albakkar & Brown, 2011). Israel continues to divert most of the water supplies from the Jordan River for its own use, a self-serving tactic that could eventually cause a serious regional conflict that will very likely draw-in the United States.

Figure 13

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There have been efforts to prevent conflict over scare water resources in this region. One proposed idea would be to start with stabilizing the Dead Sea and Lower River Jordan water flow, which would require the construction of a 112 mile canal, or series of pipes, in a project known as the Red-Sea Dead-Sea canal (out of water, pp. 23-24). This World Bank approved project is estimated to cost $10 billion, with overall goals of stabilizing the Dead Sea, provide drinking water and electricity to regional countries, and promote peaceful cooperation between benefitting nations (Rinat, 2013). There are also plans to build the worlds largest desalinization plant and a hydroelectric power plant just south of the Dead Sea, which would then provide an estimated half-billion to two billion cubic meters of water per year, as well as electricity to Palestine and Jordan a project that the World Bank hopes will finance the Red-Sea Dead Sea canal (Rinat, 2013). The United States happens to be the largest shareholder and financial backer within the World Bank, which should offer hope to those who may be pessimistic about Americas willingness or interest in preventing conflicts over water resources. Major international water projects within and around Israel will come at no small cost to governments, but their necessity for preventing more costly conflicts should provide incentive to invest now.

Water Law and Ethics

Water has inherent value in that it is something extremely useful and of value that can be consumed and/or bought and sold by society, therefore rights to access water must be guaranteed and protected by laws. Water has a very important utilitarian purpose, in that it provides a necessary good to the public as a whole, regardless of social status or income level. In order for the true value of water to be realized, it must be maximized in its utility to benefit the greatest number of people, not a select few who abuse their rights to use water. Maximum utility, as theorized by the likes of John Bentham and John Stuart Mill, cannot be fully maximized if rights

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to water become exclusive. Waters maximum value can only be realized when it benefits society as a whole. Like most laws, the underlying principle is that the rights of a party are entitled to protection, but waters inherent utilitarian value guarantees everyone rights so long as supply is adequate. When supply is negatively affected by droughts or climate change, history has shown that many different parties will protest their inability to access water due to first come, first serve type laws that were established long ago. Laws will continue to change and vary, but the main differences will continue to be based on geographical conditions, such as a moist or dry region. Water laws in the United States are typically established at the state, water basin or local district level, and are thus interpreted differently and for different reasons and purposes. In other areas of the U.S., special laws exist to protect and preserve water rights on federal lands and Native American reservations. In dry states like Colorado, water rights laws are what legislatures call appropriative, and are unlike riparian rights reserved for eastern states. This is due to the arid climate and unpredictable supplies of water in states with appropriative water rights laws. As we move forward and populations continue to grow, laws will be interpreted differently and there will be winners and losers as maximum utility is sought by governments.

Prior Appropriation Doctrine

The Prior Appropriation Doctrine originated in 1872 Colorado, after gold miners moved from California and began setting-up hydraulic mining operations in Colorado after exhausting gold supplies in California. Colorado is an arid state that gets an average of 15 inches of rain per year, and usually all at once when the mountain snowpack melts in spring, making access to water during the rest of the year very important for all interested parties, especially the public. The Prior Appropriation Doctrine was founded by Miners Courts after disputes began to

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manifest over extensive use of water by miners upstream, leaving little for new miners downstream (Grantham & Wolfe, 2011). The Appropriation Doctrine has two underlying principles: first, it states that the use of the water must be for beneficial purposes, and second that the first in time of use is the first in the right to access that water (Water Rights, 2010). The Prior Appropriation Doctrine benefits those earliest holders of permits the most in times of drought, since they have first access to the water resources, while everyone else must wait or purchase water from those with first rights to access it. This type of grandfathered-type water rights law poses ethical dilemmas in times of crisis. There is one positive caveat to this doctrine, in that all permit holders can lose their first right to access water if that right is not used for a certain length of time, whereby it is then considered abandoned or forfeited and reverts back to the state for public use (National Park Service, 2012). Beneficial purposes as interpreted by the courts with respect to appropriation, includes uses for irrigation, manufacturing, mining, hydropower, domestic purposes, municipal use, recreation, for fish and wildlife, in-stream flow and other purposes as determined at the state or federal level. Changes to the law have and will continue to change as public needs change and especially as our climate changes.

Preventing Water Wars

In 1874, drought struck Colorado and the Water Wars era began. Miners and ranchers were physically fighting one another for access to water, until the State intervened in 1876 with a Constitutional amendment, titled Article XVI. This new law declared all surface water in the state without prior appropriation to be public property, and guaranteed everyone the right to divert water from it. Article XVI also declared that water use for domestic purposes took priority over any other use, and water use for agricultural purposes took priority over water use for manufacturing or other industrial or commercial activities. In 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court

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introduced the Compact Clause into the U.S. Constitution, a clause that allowed for interstate water appropriation from rivers like the Colorado River. The 1922 Colorado River Compact was the first interstate compact concerning water rights. By 1963, Colorado had nine compacts with six other western states with regards to water rights sharing. Most southwestern states today have adopted the Prior Appropriation Doctrine into their water rights laws; however, interpretation of these laws are changing as needs are changing especially in places like Las Vegas which is taking water from first claimants such as Native Americans. States that abide by almost strictly appropriation laws now include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Preventing domestic water wars may not be the only concern we should consider when it comes to cross-border water rights. The Colorado, Rio Grande and Tijuana rivers continues to provide essential supplies of water to all states south and west of it, but also to Mexico. In-fact, the United States signed a treaty with Mexico in 1944, whereby in times where there was no drought, Mexico would be guaranteed at least 1.5 million acre feet of water from rivers originating in the United States (Shaw, 2005). As climate change begins to affect snowpack and water flows begin to significantly decrease, there will most likely be a resurgence of national and international legal battles over how water originating in the Colorado River Basin is shared.

Riparian Rights
In most other states, especially the eastern states, the Riparian Doctrine or a doctrine of reasonable use, is derived from English common law, and is typically invoked in water rights concerns. For the most part, it states that parties that own land that has any body of water on it, or directly along property lines, have riparian rights to access and use that water in a reasonable manner, but cannot store the water for future use or transfer it off the watershed parcel. This

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doctrine basically guarantees all riparian owners the right to reasonable use the water, but only as long as this use does not interfere with the rights of other riparian owners through excessive use. The court system interprets what is reasonable use when disputes arise, meaning sometimes judgments can be completely arbitrary regardless of any utilitarian or minority rights considerations. For the most part, water rights serve the legal purpose of guaranteeing the right to use water in a beneficial and non-wasteful manner. Some states, like Florida, have their own unique blend of riparian and appropriation water rights laws. For example, in 1972, Florida enacted the Florida Water Resources Act. Administrative systems supplanted common laws, but permits for water diversion were made mandatory. Existing and applying permit holders must now pass the states Three Prong Test. Applicants for permits must demonstrate their use is reasonable and beneficial, but also consistent with the publics interest and must show they will not interfere with presently existing legal uses of water (Fumero, 2002).

Federal Rights
Federal reserved water rights supersede all other riparian and prior appropriation water rights holders, similar to state and local laws that create wetlands and other reserved areas with water access. This reserved water right is held by the federal government who has reserved land for federal use, such as national parks, Indian reservations, wetlands, wildlife refuges, national forests, military bases and more. According to the Department of Justice, the origins of federal reserved water rights can be traced back to Winters v. United States 207 U.S. 564 (1908). This case guaranteed sufficient supplies of water to Native American reservations, with the priority date established as of the date of the reservations creation (USDOJ, 2013). In 1935, the federal government gave states the right to water right requisition on federally owned land, in (California Oregon Power Company v. Beaver Portland Cement Company,295 US 142 (Shaw,

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2005). In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. California, 373 U.S. 546 (1963), that this doctrine would not be reserved for Native American reservations alone, rather it could be applied nationally to all federally administered lands. This decision by the Court was significant, in that it meant that even those who met the standards set by states for riparian or prior appropriation could be affected when their water diversion negatively affects federal reserved water rights. For instance, in Cappaert v. United States, 426 U.S. 128 (1976), an injunction preventing water pumping was upheld by the Supreme Court, because the pumping would have negatively affected pupfish which existed in the deserts of the southwestern federal lands. These fish have existed in the protected lands for thousands of years, going back to when the Mojave Desert was once abundant with water. Conservative groups ridiculed the decision, scoffing at the idea of preventing commerce for the sake of a small fish, but the wiser among us realize that the shortterm financial benefits of a few do not outweigh the importance of preserving an entire species. The federal government also participates in adjudications between different states, where water claims exist in basins that cross state lines. These adjudications bind all parties involved to a court decision regarding the water rights they may have. According to the National Park Service, for example, the agency participates in nine adjudications between Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Colorado or the states that have significant interests in the water from the Colorado River Basin (2012). The federal government plays an important role in managing interstate conflicts over water, a role that will only become more important as climate change begins to have significant negative effects on water supplies in the southwestern states.

Groundwater Rights
Groundwater rights are a relatively new frontier in the courts. States typically regulate ground water use, since groundwater flows across counties and municipalities. Different states

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have different laws regulating groundwater use and rights to access groundwater. For example, New Hampshire has recently passed a Groundwater Protection Act (RSA-485C). This law is designed to ensure that groundwater withdraws do not adversely affect existing groundwater or other water resources. Major users of water, such as hydraulic fracturing operations, must apply for a permit to withdraw significant quantities of groundwater. The permitting process requires that the applicant prove they will not negatively affect other water resources (Environmental Fact Sheet, 2010). New Hampshires permitting process includes public notification and hearings, field-testing and data assessment, as well as a reporting and mitigation plan. Pennsylvanias laws abide by the Reasonable Use Doctrine, but also permit a landowner to withdraw all ground water beneath their land, so long as it does not cause foreseeable harm to a neighbors water use rights. Pennsylvania also has interstate compacts, such as the Delaware River Basin Compact, 32 P.S. 815.101 et seq. (1961), and the Susquehanna River Basin Compact Delaware River Basin Compact, 32 P.S. 820.1 et seq. (1970), which requires an interstate review of projects with water withdraws of more than 100,000 gallons or more per day of ground or surface water, and 10,000 gallons or more per day in the southeast of the state (Bishop, 2006). When tremendous amounts of water are taken out of the ground via aquifers for projects like hydraulic fracturing, it almost always has a negative effect on surrounding bodies of water, whether they are surface or groundwater. Laws are designed to protect access to water for reasonable use as well as the basic right to access water. Unfortunately, laws based on utilitarian principles that benefit the greatest amount sometimes hurt minority groups among us, and even present challenges to future generations.

The Dangers in Utility

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In 1920 the population of Las Vegas was around 2,300 -- today it is around 600,000. In 2012, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved a proposal by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to divert underground water supplies at the rate of 176,655 acre-feet per year, or 65 billion gallons of water, from three counties in eastern Nevada to Las Vegas (Clark, Lincoln, 2012). Approximately 12,288 acres of land will be disturbed from the proposed pipeline project according to the BLM. The domestic consumption of water in Las Vegas has grown exponentially over the past half century, putting significant pressure on water supplies in the region. The removal of billions of gallons of groundwater will almost certainly cause environmental degradation and significant declines in biodiversity that relies on this water. More importantly though, there are 28 Indian tribal communities and many other rural communities that will be affected according to the BLM (2012). Because groundwater was not considered earlier when Prior Appropriation laws were adopted, those who depend on this groundwater for irrigation or domestic purposes will lose. The Great Basin National park and several other wildlife refuges will be impacted, along with numerous wildlife species such as wild horses, birds, fish and more. Reduced spring and stream flows will occur and desert area will increase because of this diversion project. Water will be pumped hundreds of miles away to another city for swimming pools, golf courses, hotels and other wasteful uses, while local residents and wildlife that depend on access to this groundwater in the southeast of the state will suffer. Many other states have and will continue to develop similar projects that divert natural bodies of water in unnatural ways in order to satisfy public demand in select metropolitan areas. Does this action provide maximum utility to the maximum amount of people? Yes, it does. Unfortunately, minority groups, wildlife and our natural environment will suffer so that the majority can benefit.

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This is an ethical dilemma that we will increasingly need to confront as our water resources begin to dwindle, our climate changes and human populations increase.

Domestic Solutions
There is good news when it comes to efforts to prevent water crises in the United States. Since 1980, the population has increased by around 70 million people, but water use has declined from an average of 440 billion gallons per day to 410 billion gallons today (Fishman, 2011). States are taking action in response to climate change and water shortages as populations increase, but this is happening more on the macro-scale what we need now is for water conservation and adaptation to climate change to occur more on the micro-level. We need individual households, schools, hospitals, small organizations, and others to participate in water conservation efforts. Businesses have been steadily adopting new technologies to reduce waste, cut costs and improve productivity, including the agricultural sector. For example, the agricultural sector uses 15% less water today, than they did in 1980, but they also produce 70% more food (Fishman, 2011). Efficiency and conservation are slowly showing results, but there is a lot of room for improvement. In the city of Atlanta, nonprofits like the Atlanta Water Planning District have advocated many ways businesses and households can make changes to conserve water, like changing older plumbing fixtures, mandating water recycling at businesses like car washes, and changing how irrigation systems are built and deployed using sensors. Toilets account for nearly 30% of household water use, making them a prime target for efficiency efforts. According to one report by the Atlanta Regional Business Coalition, the city has replaced more than 80,000 water-wasting toilets and repaired over 25,000 leaks, saving millions of gallons of freshwater per year (Sengstacken, 2013). In cities across America, there are numerous ways people, organizations and governments continue to waste water, but as revealed, there are

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also numerous ways they are conserving water. For instance, local governments in Las Vegas have prohibited front lawns from new home construction projects, offered to pay for turf removal from businesses, developed an ability to recycle over 90% of all indoor water use, and forced golf courses to develop water usage budgets (Leonhardt, 2011). The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) proudly reported that many businesses are beginning to utilize wastewater recycling technologies instead of tapping freshwater supplies. For instance, the SNWA reported in 2009, that one county alone now has nine golf courses using reclaimed water for irrigation rather than drawing on new freshwater supplies. Municipalities are also now using reclaimed water for maintaining vegetation along highways and for other purposes. Northern Las Vegas recently completed construction of a 50 million gallon per-day wastewater reclamation facility. There are also many little things that each household can do to solve and prevent water crises from occurring, like turning off the water spigot while brushing teeth, fill an energy efficient dishwasher, replacing water-intensive landscape, taking shorter showers, etc.

Embracing Technology
As land becomes more arid and global populations affected, conflict can be mitigated through applied technology and resources management. When dealing with large populations, sometimes massive government-funded projects are needed to avoid disaster and help communities thrive. In the United States, populations living in arid areas like the Southwest will find natural water supplies becoming more expensive or non-existent as our climate changes. In countries like Ethiopia, many will migrate to neighboring nations for richer soil, and access to more water, causing conflicts and wars that will eventually affect Americas. Investing in and applying advanced technology will be the key to managing water for large populations across the globe. According to one expert, Dr. Jerome Priscolli of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, there

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are many ways technology can help us manage water going forward. First, Priscolli suggests governments invest heavily in desalination technology and civilian point-of-use products to conserve existing fresh water supplies. General Electric has recently developed a water recovery technique that can be implemented in water desalination and filtering plants, making 99% of water recoverable and drinkable. General Electric claims to be able to save companies and municipalities billions of gallons of water per year from being wasted through their Aquasel Non-Thermal Brine Concentrator machine. GE estimates a saving of 11 billion gallons of freshwater per day worldwide if their technology was implemented in just beverage bottling plants (Markham, 2012). Technology like this will make all the difference when it is shared and applied worldwide, helping to manage the effects from climate change. Large cities like New York can take steps now to apply the latest technologies for mitigating climate change. The Empire State Building owners have recently spent $13 million for new energy-efficient windows, cutting yearly energy consumption by 38% (Sheridan, 2011), offering another great example of how we can fight climate change. The Empire State building is so massive that it is the only one in the United States with its own zip-code. Cities around the world should encourage and incentivize more green building projects like this. Large companies like GE and Alcoa will play an important role in fighting the effects of climate change. Alcoa has recently developed aluminum surfaces with technology called Reynobond, which can absorb carbon dioxide from the air in dense cities like New York, turning skyscrapers like the Empire State building into virtual trees that clean our air (Alcoa, 2012). The New York Times reports that one way to eliminate gas guzzling trucks clogging city streets and polluting the air could be to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in skyscrapers, and without sun, water or soil (Fletcher, 2012). Vertical farming can utilize LED lights and the direct application of nutrients to

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free-hanging roots, all to maximize efficiency and deliver healthy food to mega-cities on a daily basis. Flooding, drought and other unpredictable events have little effect on vertical urban farms. Vertical farming can save cities billions of gallons of water a year, and can also eliminate fertilizer use and runoff that is currently causing huge dead zones in places like the Gulf of Mexico. Places like South Korea and Singapore are embracing vertical farming as a means to secure their national food supplies and create local jobs. In Singapore, Sky Green Farms produces fresh vegetables through their mere 30 high vertical farms, while recycling water and using little space or other natural resources (Doucleff, 2012). The future is now and there are so many amazing new technologies that can be applied by local, state and national governments and consumers to offset the effects we all have on our natural world. We often forget that we inhabit a planet with billions of other species, and that the Earth is the only known planet to support life.

Rapid climate change over the past 50 years has begun to show signs of destabilizing the harmony within the Earths hydrosphere and biosphere, as evidenced by mass extinction and increasingly powerful droughts, flooding and super-storms. This is only the beginning of changes that our generation will witness as our planets weather systems are altered. There is no way for scientists to accurately predict what type of weather will result, other than to follow the trend of hurricanes doubling and tripling in size and strength and other meteorological anomalies. Some scientists warn that the changes we effect on our climate now, will take thousands of years to undo; however, those who are hopeful among us believe our environment is as resilient as the human species so, recovery is more likely on the horizon if we take steps now to prevent further deterioration of our natural environment. We have a moral obligation to make every and any effort in our power to conserve finite resources and adopt efficient technologies, but also to

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consider the cause and effect relationship our excessive wants have on everyone and everything around us. When we think about how much damage will be caused from diverting billions of gallons of water from one region and delivering to another region, we are only thinking of the maximum human value that will result for the short-term, but now we must begin to ask why we need to divert billions of gallons of water and then consider how we can reduce that need or eliminate it entirely. Do we need to wash our car every week, shower twice a day, golf on green grass, fill swimming pools, leave the faucet running while doing the dishes, water the lawn when it gets hot? We need to become more conscious of how we are using water as individuals, and then we can begin to think more about how we are using water as a whole. When we begin to think about how we are using water as a whole, only then will we begin to think about how we can change the largest consumers of water by changing our habits or demanding new technologies be implemented in old systems. Our planet has been around for billions of years, and it will continue to be around for billions of years, but our hospitable environment that allows our species to thrive now has the power to alter the environment in a short span of history, enough to affect the quality of life for everyone living thing on this planet. In the past, only huge asteroids crashing through our atmosphere or massive volcano eruptions had the power to alter the climate and cause mass extinctions of species now this is happening because of our behavior, which is a result of our thinking. If we change our thinking now, we change our behavior and can thus preserve our hospitable environment and access to clean water, for many future generations of humans and numerous other species for thousands, maybe millions of years to come.

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