Short essays by Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., the author of TING AND I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO, USA), available from outskirtspress.com/tingandi, Barnes and Noble [bn.com], and Amazon [amazon.com], in paperback or ebook formats. Please visit us at tingandi.com for more information.
IMAGINE LIVING INa world without clean
drinking water. Could this really happen? Could this be our planet’s next
global crisis? Is America likely to be spared?
Just as it could be argued that wars have been fought over
access to oil, an environmental expert at the World Bank has said that the next
wars will be over water, quite possibly the water stored on the Tibetan Plateau
that ultimately irrigates most of Asia (Kallen, 2015). As will be noted below,
political “wars” have already developed over the rights to various water
Concern over water supplies led recently to an unusual
accusation: in mid-summer of 2018, an Iranian general accused Israel of
stealing clouds that otherwise would alleviate an Iranian drought. [https://
THE WATER CYCLE
Water is present in several different forms here on Earth:
the oceans, the Arctic and Antarctic ice formations, rivers and lakes, snow
packs and glaciers, soil moisture, water vapor, clouds…. Water evaporates,
forms clouds, which precipitate rain or snow, which becomes liquid water or
snow and ice. Terrestrial plants absorb water from the soil and eventually give
it up through transpiration from their leaves or from decomposition after they
die. Water, especially liquid water, is essential to life. (See Appendix 2.)
If the Earth were much colder, it would be an ice ball,
with negligible evaporation and negligible precipitation. If it were much
hotter, there would be little liquid water on its surface, and almost all water
not lost to outer space would be stored in the atmosphere as vapor or in clouds
of water droplets and ice crystals. Life on Earth depends on our globe’s being
in the relatively temperate zone it is now, with water in its solid, liquid,
and gaseous forms.
In 2015, the World Economic Forum [https://www.WEForum.org/
agenda/2015/01/why-world-water-crises-are-a-top-global-risk/] listed water
issues as the largest global risk in the coming decade. Whether it is finding
enough drinking water or obtaining water for agricultural irrigation (currently
70% of the world’s water usage), water scarcity is likely to produce lowered
standards of living and greater international friction. Even now, as the WEF
article indicates, a billion people live without safe drinking water, and a
third of the world’s population lives in “water-stressed” areas. The
International Atomic Energy Agency is cited as predicting that energy
production 20 years from now will require 85% more water.
In a subsequent publication
a W E F author cited research indicating that world-wide some 4 billion people,
2/3 of the Earth’s population, face at least one month of water shortage every
year, and nearly half of the people who face such water scarcity are in China
or India. For half a billion of these people, the rainfall supplying potable
water is less than the current demand, and the demand is going to grow as
populations increase. Maps of water shortage show it to be most pronounced in
northern and southern Africa, southwestern U.S., and Australia.
A recent article
listed 17 major cities on the verge of running short of drinking water: Los
Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami, Denver, El Paso, Lincoln (NE), Atlanta, San
Francisco, Cape Town, Beijing, Sao Paolo (Brazil), Cairo, London, Moscow, Istanbul,
and Mexico City.
Indeed, 2018 was the year Cape Town, South Africa, was
expected to run out of drinking water
The same article notes that only 1% of the world’s fresh water is accessible to
humans, with much of the rest too remote or captured as snow or ice rather than
potable liquid. One 2018 proposal for bringing fresh water to Cape Town, South
Africa [https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ world-news/huge-icebergs-could-towed-antarctica-12456271]
was to push floating chunks of ice that had been released from Antarctica
naturally to supply the drought-stricken city. An ocean current would be
harnessed to help to move the icebergs. They would be chopped up to form a
slurry added to drinking water supplies. One expert estimated the typical
iceberg could provide 30% of the city’s drinking water needs for a year.
California, Australia, and Brazil have areas that in the
past few years have experienced drought, or “water stress,” where demand
exceeded readily available resources. This has led to water theft in Brazil,
India, and Mexico, sometimes blamed on a misunderstanding of the 2010 United
Nations’ position that water is “a right.” This can lead to international
tension, such as when a dam under construction on the headwaters of the Nile in
Ethiopia is seen by some Egyptians as a threat to their water supply.
Although Africa as a continent is notably water-poor, the
possibility of no potable water coming from the household water taps is
imminent not only there in Morocco, but also in Spain, India, and Iraq. This
conclusion was reached by analysis of satellite views of many of the world’s
Analysis indicates dozens of countries face water shortages, according to the
World Resources Institute. Examples of major dams that are more than 50%
depleted are worrisome, the causes being a mix of reduced rainfall and
An article by Derek Coleman in the Huntington, WV, HeraldDispatch
article_291fe4dd-4ba8-5629-a96a-ad6ae0261c53.html] notes that in Sao Paolo,
Brazil, a three-year period of drought brought the city’s reservoir to a bare
4% of its capacity.
In many cities in the world, population growth is
aggravating the shortages. The population of Bangalore, India, has increased by
50% in just 6 years, putting great strain on the water supplies. Population
growth is occurring around the world, requiring more fresh water yearly
(Kallen, 2015). It is estimated that by 2025, newly industrialized nations like
China, India, and Kenya, will need about 50% more water; currently
industrialized countries will need another 18%. Another estimate states that
population growth and industrialization in Africa will require four times as
much water as now used, by the year 2040 (Kallen, 2015).
Coleman writes that China has 20% of the world’s
population, but only 7% of its water. In Beijing “nearly half the water is so polluted,
it can’t even be used by either industry or agriculture.” Water pollution of
the Nile River in Egypt is so bad that much of the water is hazardous, and the
country is predicted to have a drinking water crisis in seven years. Pollution
ruins some 60% of Russia’s water supplies in a country that has 25% of the
world’s water supply. The UN estimates “the need for water will exceed the
world’s supply by 40% in the next ten years….” Many poor nations have terrible
sanitation facilities, leading to contaminated water supplies.
It is estimated that every 21 seconds a child (usually
outside the U.S.) dies from dirty drinking water (Kallen, 2015).
Our book describes the water scarcity problems and
discusses the options for overcoming them, hopefully before they reach crisis
proportions. Its focus will be on drinkable water, but it is worth noting that
public vs. private recreational uses of lakes and rivers are generating
conflicting demands on those resources as well [https://www.
A publication by The Pew Charitable Trust, STATELINE of
April 17, 2018 [http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/
stated that “nearly one-third of the continental United States was in drought
on April 10 , more than three times the coverage of a year ago.” The
article goes on to note predictions of severe water shortages in the West and
Of concern for the near future is the Colorado River,
source of water for some 40 million people. This region is the focus of our
book. The U.S. EPA is cited as predicting that global warming by 2050 will
quadruple the number of above-100-degrees days in the U.S. Southern Plains
region. Groundwater supplies (aquifers) are used by half the U.S. population,
nearly all of the rural fraction, and these are being depleted, more water
being used than is being replaced.
The primary source of drinking water for both Tucson and
Phoenix, Arizona, Lake Mead, Colorado, site of the Hoover Dam, may drop even
more precipitously due to a thirty-year drought in its region (Davis, 2018):
The Bureau of Reclamation held a presentation for hundreds of interested
parties in June of 2018, explaining that Arizona officials need to join with
the six other Colorado River Basin states to prepare a drought plan now, as
there is a 65% chance the lake will fall to levels that require cutting back
the water currently supplied to the municipalities covered by the $4 billion
Central Arizona Project (CAP).
THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST
On August 15, 2018, the Bureau of Reclamation, a
multi-state agency, predicted there is a 52% chance that by 2020 the water
level in Lake Mead would fall below the threshold that requires a Federal water
shortage declaration, which could be a blow to the Southwest region’s economic
prospects. Bureau officials are cited as stating this has been the driest
19-year period in their recorded history.
Los Angeles Times
reporter Bettina Boxall [http://www.latimes.com/
local/lanow/la-me-colorado-cuts-20181010-story.html] outlined an agreement
being worked out with Arizona and Nevada on sharing water from the Colorado
River during periods of drought. California would reduce its diversion from the
river by 4.5% to 8% as the shortage continued, with Arizona and Nevada losing
their water earlier, having had later “appropriation” histories. So far, with
occasional breaks, there has been a shortfall from 2000 on. The whole Basin is
at 47% of capacity; the Upper Basin’s Lake Powell is at 45%, and the Lower
Basin’s Lake Mead is at 38%; some experts expect drought restrictions to be
announced by 2020.
Because of arrangements made in prior years, including the
purchase of water rights and the banking of unused water allocations, the
Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California has some built-in
cushioning of the effects of the Basin’s drought conditions region-wide.
Experts believe the Lower Basin problems will only worsen, because the usage is
outpacing the supply.
Sassie could not believe her eyes. Goldie was in the large, inside exercise room
Jane unclipped Sassie’s leash. and she
immediately gave Goldie a Play Bow. It
was like, “Hi, Mom! Let’s play!” Then Sassie
began to run circles around Goldie.
Millie and Jane were laughing at the
actions of the two dogs. Millie
commented, “You would think that these two dogs knew one another!”
Jane agreed, and they pulled up a couple
of folding chairs; they decided to talk while the dogs were having fun
together. Jane began by saying, “I’m
concerned about the weather forecast on Saturday. They predict freezing rain. It is unusual at this time of the year, but I
am thinking it would be wise to cancel the puppy play date. I just do not want anyone to try to come here
when the conditions could be very dangerous.
What are your thoughts?”
As the dogs ran around playing, they had
taken no notice of Millie and Jane. Sassie
was telling Goldie, “I never thought I would ever see you again. You said that man was dangerous.”
Sassie was very happy to see her mom but
was also curious about how she had arrived here. They had found a rope and were now playing Tug-of-War.
Goldie’s reply was a bit surprising but a
truth that Sassie had already learned.
“Man can be a danger, but sometimes men just need us to help them learn
about love.” They both looked over at
the women and decided to check in with them.
Millie was showing off the ring she was
wearing. “Mike has asked me to marry
him. Of course, I said yes. We decided
to set the wedding date sometime after my college graduation.”
Goldie began to nudge Millie’s elbow, and
as Millie gave her a kiss, Sassie sat in front of Jane. “Yes, you can have a treat. You are such a good dog.” Jane reached into her treat pouch and gave
one treat to Millie for Goldie and then got a second treat for Sassie.
“Goldie has helped us to understand
love. She has been a blessing for both
of us.” Millie said this as she gave her
treat to Goldie.
Millie remembered their bad-weather topic
and said, “I do think it would be wise to cancel the puppy play date. With the darkness coming so early during this
time of year, it can be both hard to see and dangerous driving. Black ice is sometimes hard to recognize
during the day but more of a problem at night.
Do you want me to help you call everyone?”
With her permission, I am serializing a chapter a week, on this blog, near-final material from this instructive novel by dog trainer Helen A. Bemis, published by Outskirts Press and available through amazon.com: UNDERSTANDING SASSIE
expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not
represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented
and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in
may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means,
including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written
consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in
critical articles and reviews.
Press and the “OP” logo are trademarks belonging to Outskirts Press, Inc.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PRAISE FOR WATER WARS
“In Water Wars:
Sharing the Colorado River, Dr. Carter and Dr. Cooper provide a
comprehensive accounting of the all-too-many historical and current contexts
where human conflict has arisen over access and use of limited fresh water
around the globe. They review useful analysis frameworks from which to better
understand sustainable solutions for sharing water from one of North America’s
most important sources-- the Colorado River basin. For those that want a
glimpse into a world where we must treat fresh water as the fundamental, and
limited, resource it is, and what to do about it, this book is an important
William C. Schulz III, Director, Walden University Center
for Social Change Professor of Strategic Management & Leadership
dedicate this work to those endeavoring to assure adequate supplies of water to
inhabitants of the Colorado River Basin and those dependent on water from the
Basin, along with those who are supporting preparing for whatever level of
climate change awaits us.
Also, I [BJC] dedicate this book to my parents, who are
Despite having only third-grade and
seventh-grade educations, they taught me that hard work pays off and never to
quit; moreover, to my beautiful bride: stay strong, dear, soon your childhood
and blessings are about to become true. Furthermore, thank
you for always encouraging me and standing by me during the good and bad times,
helping me to keep the faith.
I [DWC] dedicate this book to our friends and family andespecially to Tina Su Cooper, my wife for
over three decades now, my forever love.
I [BJC] gratefullyacknowledge the many friends,
colleagues, teachers, archivists, and other public policy scholars, as well,
who assisted, advised, and supported our research and writing efforts over the
past year. Primarily, I express my gratitude and sincere appreciation to
Michael J. Dowling, who introduce me to Douglas Winslow Cooper, whose
friendship, hospitality, knowledge, and wisdom have supported, enlightened, and
entertained me over the last year of his mentorship. All have consistently
helped me keep perspective on what is essential in life and shown me how to
deal with reality.
I [DWC] thank the scholars and journalists whose work has
provided the basis for ours, as we have “stood on the shoulders of giants”
[Isaac Newton] to get a better view of prudent management of precious water
supplies, particularly as this applies to the Colorado River Basin. I also
thank my co-author, Bruce J. Carter, for our highly congenial collaboration,
and for the opportunity to participate in this project.
to write the foreword for Water Wars:
Sharing the Colorado River, which deals with potential future drinking
water shortages due to water pollution, population growth, toxic chemicals, and
climate change, I was honored and reflective. We live in a world where our road
has many forks and takes us on some incredible journeys. This book investigates
the challenge of impending water scarcity, emphasizing preserving and
protecting our planet’s drinking water; among other intellectual resources, the
book relies substantially on the work of an international prize-winning economist,
the late Elinor Ostrom, who emphasized eight principles of the management of
common-pool resources (CPRs), such as watersheds.
There are four main thematic parts to this informative
book. The first presents some historical background, noting frequent and
longstanding global water conflicts. The second provides an overview of the
Colorado River Basin and the laws governing the allocation and use of its
water. Third, the book discusses environmental norms and the practices
governing the use of common-pool resources. Finally, the book reviews solution
options to an impending shortage of clean water in the Basin, along with
discussion and recommendations. It ends with several valuable appendices,
including one on cyber security as it applies to water resource management.
By providing a historical context, Water Wars makes an ambitious effort at providing remedies to an
impending water scarcity challenge. Environmentalists have become increasingly
aware of the economic and social factors affecting shared water use. While
environmentalists will appreciate the significance of the facts and analyses
presented by the authors, many government officials, international
organizations, military planners, and political activists will also find this
scholarly book useful.
The breadth of the analyses presented in this book make it
exceptional in a field where there are continuing disagreements about man-made
climate-change. Water Wars: Sharing the
Colorado River does not claim to present the only solutions nor does it demand
specific actions; it neither defends nor questions the predictions of
significant climate change. Instead, the authors present a set of facts and
The points the authors make in Water Wars are solid and important, and its arguments in favor of a
heightened awareness of a possible global water supply shortage are convincing.
Early action can prevent later regret.
This book will inspire thought and, I hope, constructive,
Johnnie E Wilson, (Ret. Army)
Former Commanding General, United
States Army Materiel Command (CG AMC) from 1996 to 1999
“Water, Watereverywhere…. Nor any
drop to drink.” So lamented poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. In
a few years, in some parts of the world, especially Africa, there is likely to
be too little water to drink or to use for agricultural irrigation or even for
industrial production, despite some three-fourths of the Earth’s surface being
covered by water or ice. We have written this book to join those who have
sounded the alarm about a possible water shortage and to help explain the
global and the American situations, with an emphasis on the Colorado River
After some discussion of the global condition and trends,
we turn our focus to the Colorado River Basin, the area in the U.S. with the
greatest danger from a future shortfall of clean, drinkable (potable) water. As
Opinion Contributors Christy Plumer and Julie Hill-Gabriel wrote in the
September 15, 2018 issue of The Hill:
year, the Colorado River Basin only received about a third of its average
annual supply of snow-melt runoff. Such low runoff, coupled with continuing
demand for water from cities, farmers, and ranchers, may stretch the Colorado
River system beyond its breaking point. That’s a perilous prospect for a river
that supplies drinking water to nearly 40 million people, supports 16 million
jobs, generates $1.4 trillion in economic benefits, and irrigates nearly 6
million acres of farmland.
recent report from the Bureau of Reclamation (2012) projects a 57 percent
chance of shortages on the Colorado River in 2020 and beyond, and it indicates
that water levels on Lake Powell, one of the river’s two main reservoirs, could
drop very far and very fast — to the point where people in California, Arizona,
or Nevada could have their supplies cut off without a say.
impacts of these conditions are already being felt on the ground: Colorado
closed the Yampa River to fishing and boating in July, and then, for the first
time ever, also cut water to some users in September. [https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/406836-the-colorado-river-is-headed-fora-water-shortage]
A future water shortage is likely to aggravate the
relationships in the Basin that have grown up around allocation of water. We
note the work of the Pacific Institute, which has provided a detailed
chronology of over 500 wars or conflicts involving water access as a trigger, a
weapon, or a casualty of the conflict; [https://www.worldwater.org/
water-conflict/]. In 2017 alone, nearly 50 such conflicts occurred, all of them
overseas, not in America.
We present the various American legal modalities currently
in place for handling, for adjudicating, such disputes without violence:
Colorado’s Law of the River, contrasted with Riparian law, and proposals for a
marketplace of water resource utilization rights. Recent work by the late,
eminent economist Elinor Ostrom on managing common pool resources is
highlighted here. In the appendices, we present the Water Cycle and discuss
some tangential issues as well: cyber security in managing water allocation,
waterborne illnesses, and the use of advanced engineering statistics approaches
(Bayesian analysis) to the optimization of water usage.
One of us (Carter) recently finished his Ph.D. dissertation
on the statistical analysis of educational opportunities for under-served
communities. The other (Cooper) has served as the Director of Environmental
Health Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. Both have
long-standing interests in optimizing public policy.
We hope our book will prove of value to those concerned
about the future supplies of clean water in a period with expected increases in
public demand and possible diminution of supply due to climatic changes.
J. Carter, Ph.D. Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Impending Crisis 1
American Southwest 6
Chapter 2: Global Impact 8
Trends In Water Use 10
Shortage As A Significant Global Risk 14
The Shortage Of Water Resources? 15
Improper Handling Of Water Resources Can Have
The Water Crisis 20
Chapter 3: Water Conflicts 26
Conflicts 2017 29
Chapter 4: The Colorado River Basin 34
Colorado River 35
Western U.S. (Gallagher, 2017) 37
Chapter 5: The Law Of The River (Colorado River)
Water Law 45
Chapter 6: Riparian Law 51
Of Riparian Rights 52
Chapter 7: Environmental Markets 55
Marketing Issues 55
Environmental Markets Now? 76
Chapter 8: Does The Colorado River Itself Need
Chapter 9: Managing The Commons 80
And Practice 84
Institutions In Field Settings 86
Among These Examples 90
Complexities Of L.A. Water Rationing 91
Institutional Failures And Fragilities” 97
To Scholarship In The Social Sciences” 116
Elinor Ostrom 117
Chapter 10: Policy Options 119
“The Colorado River And The
Inevitability Of Institutional
Chapter 11: Evaluation Of Options 128
Supply Scenarios 129
Demand Scenarios 129
Of Options 130
Considerations And Next Steps 132
Chapter 12: Discussion 135
Chapter 13: Recommendations 138
Appendix 1: Water Crisis, Flint, Michigan,
Appendix 2: The Water Cycle 149
Appendix 3: Cyber Security Issues 152
Appendix 4: Waterborne Illnesses 161
Appendix 5: Applying Bayes Theorem To Hydrology 165