Unquenchable: Why America's Water is Under Threat

The Takeaway

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

For the most part, Americans have been fortunate when it comes to water security. We live under the assumption that water is cheap, pure, and plentiful. But how true is that? 

That idea has been tested over the last several years. The American West has suffered a tremendous drought, provoking regulation and mass water conservation efforts, primarily in California. During it's bankruptcy, residents of Detroit, Michigan, had their taps shutoff if they were were unable to pay outstanding water bills, something that prompted the United Nations to call water a "fundamental human right in Detroit." 

This fall, national attention turned to Flint, Michigan, where a change in the municipal water supply caused a massive lead contamination crisis, the impact of which will likely be felt for years to come. Flint is only the latest in a long line of tragic stories. Families in North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio also understand the pain of contamination, which has been linked to pollution from coal mining and other industries where toxins haven't been properly regulated or regulations have been overlooked. 

Robert Glennon is a Regents' Professor at the University of Arizona and author of "Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do About It." Glennon argues that the United States needs to change our water strategy before it's too late. 

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • What's threatening American water.
  • Why Glennon believes America has a water crisis.
  • What solutions are currently available.