Entries by Dr. Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick: Water as a Weapon — Qaddafi’s Last Desperate Gamble

There is a long history of conflicts over water. The first known water war was nearly 5,000 years ago: a conflict over irrigation ditches between the cities of Umma and Lagash in ancient Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now Iraq.

Peter Gleick: What Do You Know? Water Conservation and Efficiency Actually Work

A new analysis from the Pacific Institute Municipal Deliveries of Colorado River Basin Water, authored by Michael J. Cohen, documents real changes in population and water deliveries for 100 cities and water agencies in the U.S. and Mexico that deliver and use water from the Colorado River Basin. Total population in these areas grew by more than 10 million people between 1990 and 2008, but water use per person dropped by around 20 percent over the same period (around 1% per year).

Peter Gleick: The California Drought (2007-2009) – Myth Versus Reality

It has been a wet year. Very wet. But remember the drought? California has just come out of a bad three-year drought. 2007, 2008, and 2009 were dry or “critically dry” according to official drought categories for most of the state. Past droughts have been both more severe (1977-1978) and longer in duration (1987-1992) than […]

Peter Gleick: Whither Bottled Water Sales?

Major public campaigns against bottled water had recently been initiated by students, activist groups, local communities, and even some restaurateurs, including several high-profile ones in the Bay Area and the two-year drop in sales after years of double-digit annual growth was perceived by some, including me, as an indication that the unchallenged claims of the industry were beginning to be met with skepticism, education, and consumer reaction.

Peter Gleick: Where Have All Our Drinking Water Fountains Gone?

Where have all our drinking water fountains gone? They have been disappearing, one by one, from our public spaces, parks, offices. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute, an internationally recognized water expert and a MacArthur Fellow. Read his full bio… And yet, it has become easier and easier to […]

Peter Gleick: Playing God

In a desperate attempt to make it easier to solve California’s complex and contentious water problems, a dangerous new idea has recently been floated — intentionally letting some species go extinct rather than take the difficult steps needed to save them and their ecosystems. This idea should be quashed, smothered, strangled, and quickly tossed in […]

Peter Gleick: Peak Water

Peak water is coming. In some places, peak water is here. We’re never going to run out of water — water is a renewable natural resource (mostly). But increasingly, around the world, in the U.S., and locally, we are running up against peak water limits. The concept is so important and relevant that The New York Times chose the term “peak water” as one of its 33