Research Paper on National Water Policy
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Sample Research Paper on National Water Policy
Should the United States have a National Water Policy?
Introduction of Topic/Overview
Attention Getter: Thousands have lived without love, not one without Water. This is a very shocking and interesting preposition that I would like us to explore and consider it worthwhile
Define Key Terms
Water is also a fundamental component involved in the digestion process forming a solemn 90 per cent of all the digestive ingredients in the stomach. Water forms a powerful symbol throughout the world which carries several meanings and significance like baptism, cleansing and healing, new life and promise of prosperity and growth. To emphasis the importance of water, it’s difficult today to pick up a publication be it a newspaper, magazine or even listen to audio media in USA and not find or hear a national or international story about water. Droughts, climate change, floods, water quality, navigation, estuarine ecology and riverine are all the headlines emphasized on frequent basis (Rogers, 1996, p.g 5).
Therefore water is a major component of everyday living. To protect this essential component in life for sustainable future generations, a more comprehensive policy integrated in a holistic approach is inevitable. In contrast, areas and regions where water is scarce with growing demands on a platform of limited resources, the consequences are not only devastating conflicts but also presence of catastrophes like droughts, flood and loss of life (Bonnie, & Kathrine, 2007, p.g 45).
National Water Policy
Water policy refers to those deliberate and conscious-actions intended to govern the administration, management and procedures aimed at the implementation and proper use of water as a natural resource. This involves incorporation of water planning processes by which water rights, water diversions and evaluation, water uses are allocated according to specific public policy to achieve desired set of goals and objectives designated by legislative mandate. Hence a National Water Policy involves a holistic approach intended to conserve, utilize and protect all the national water bodies and aquatic ecosystem for national benefit (Bonnie, & Kathrine, 2007, p.g 23).
United States clearly faces water resource challenges that are profound to national interest and welfare. Although this challenge may differ from the angle of perspective especially when weighed with other national problems, there is however areas of consensus concerning the problem of water shortage. For instance, the scarcity of water has caused severe conditions of drought like the summer 2002 where over 49 per cent of the contiguous America faced moderate to extreme drought according to Galloway 2008, p.g 1. The same report indicates low levels of precipitation below average in more than 27 States in the same year. Since 1998, united states have experienced various states of droughts especially months proceeding summer seasons (Water Footprint Network, 2011, p.g 23). Further more, the drought situation was evident from 1998 through 2002 prompting the Congress to pass the Agricultural Assistance Act of 2003 for over US $ 3 billion to farmers and ranchers to mitigate the short term effects of drought. Several congresses and discussions held identified inadequacies of water both for industrial and municipal uses in long term perspectives. This clearly indicates that long term measures need to be in place to cushion Americans against long term effects of droughts. One such measure is the establishment of a Nation Water Policy especially for the 21st Century (Rogers, 1996, p.g 11).
The question whether United States should have a national water policy is time due considering the ramifications of not having one. In my view and analysis, water policy in United States is inevitable especially considering the devastating effects occurring from drought and inadequate long term water both for industrial and municipal utilities. According to Rogers 2008, p.g 14, adequate and safe fresh water is pivotal to economy, security and foreign policy of the United States. The nation’s limited and unevenly distribution of fresh water resources which are used ineffectively and inefficiently further underscore the importance of developing a nation water policy for the country. The high unabated levels of water contamination also necessitate a legal framework to conserve the water resources. The endangered aquatic ecosystems if not well protected will not only impoverish this generation and the future but also endanger the food supply of the country. Lack of national water policy in itself presents great dangers that not only have great public health ramifications but also those involving economic, political and diplomatic. Water related threats to national security and interests are also pertinent in areas where availability of fresh water is limited. Global water crisis coupled with devastating effects of world climatic change presents other effects of aquatic and ecosystem exploitation (Bonnie, & Kathrine, 2007, p.g.
Let’s take a look in to the details of what is national water policy, consequences of water resources shortages and the effects of uncontrolled limited and unevenly water resource distribution within the country.
State the Problem and Significance
Limited water resource and constrained aquatic ecosystem is an evident phenomenon at the United States resource deposits. This has resulted to inadequate and limited fresh water for industrial and municipal usage. This challenge poses a threat to public health sector which directly or indirectly affects economic, political and diplomatic relations of the United States. These factors have been collaborative to other devastating effects resulting to global climatic change which has adverse effects to vital sectors of the US economy. The ever changing climatic conditions have over the last two decades affected the level of water supply as well as demand for water which have affected negatively on the hydroelectric generation, nation’s water supply as well as food security. These challenges directly affect every American citizen in a negative way (Rogers, 1996, p.g 17).
Due to lack of an operational national water policy, the nations unevenly and limited distribution of water resource has continually been used inefficiently and ineffectively according to Rogers 1996, p.g 19. Due to lack of a water policy, destruction of ecosystems has gone unabated hence uneven distribution of water. Where access to fresh water is a challenge in the United States, there has been growing risks of political instability and insecurity. This has also resulted to ill preparedness of the national army due to lack of sufficient water bodies for training and attack to maintain the national security hence the latter is highly compromised. Since climate change is of much emphasis of water as it is to temperatures and air quality, the effects of climate change must be prevented. The United States has had a good share of the adverse effects of climatical change including floods and severe hurricanes (Guy, 1994, p.g 12).
This problem implies, Americans no longer have adequate fresh drinking water, water for their daily usage in terms of washing, they are not guaranteed of fresh food on their table on daily basis especially horticulture hence adverse effects to the public health sector, low hydroelectric power generation resulting to industrial alternatives for power generation which are expensive and unaffordable. This in turn results to high production costs of energy which is passed on to the final consumer hence deteriorating the standards of living for normal American citizens. Hence this is a holistic approach that requires efforts from all stakeholders from the government, institutions and the citizens as a whole (Water Footprint Network, 2011, n.g, par 4).
The problem of water shortage and its inefficient use in the absence of a comprehensive National Water Policy coupled with its consequences have continued to be a thorn in the flesh for many Americans. The continued persistent of water problems in the United States is the absence of a comprehensive National Water policy especially the one taking into account the 21st century issues in the ecosystem phenomenon. These have resulted to lack of national goals for maintaining sustainable water resources. Water has also not been given the necessary and adequate attention compared to other issues like security, investment and health care. Lack of legislative regulation on the use and utilization of aquatic ecosystem by the citizens have also exacerbated the problem. This according to Larson and Plascenia 2001, p.g 11, have resulted to floods which continues to cost the American economy huge sums of money with an estimate of US & 6 billion every year dedicated to curbing floods and its effects (Dave, & Sander, 2009 p.g 3).
The nation has experienced not even single round of harm and catastrophes like floods and droughts but a repeated disastrous hurricanes around large water bodies. The energy sector of a country will be greatly affected if the water sector will not be governed and controlled to ensure protection of water masses and ensure efficient utilization of the same to ensure water availability and quality. Needless to mention the harm associated with dirty and inadequate supply of water with great consequences to the public health sector (Rogers, 1996, p.g 28).
Citizen’s ignorance of the preservation and conservation aquatic ecosystem has also contributed to the inherency of the problem. Even when there is a comprehensive water policy, without masses support, participation and thorough knowledge to improve and increase the quantity and quality of water, these efforts may not yield substantial results. As Peter Gleick, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences observed, a holistic approach need to be integrated in the national policy with political free will and people’s participation to realize the goals of water conservation (Hans, & Jeremy, 1995, p.g 23).
After consideration of the above problems and their persistency on our society, the following discussion focus on the possible and viable solution that can be adopted to ensure water sustenance and availability
The problems previously discussed presents an inherent danger unless stern measures are implemented to ensure the effects are reserved and further prevented from exacerbating. Among other measures that may be implemented, a National Water Policy is the best remedy plan for all those challenges. Since its formulation will be holistic and takes an integrated approach, it’s likely than not that it will address all the issues discussed among others when its implementation is well carried out. The government should establish a bipartisan water commission to recommend and formulate an integral national water policy that takes into account the dynamics of environmental changes and people’s perception (Rogers, 1996, p.g 19). Expansion and reinvigoration of investment to protection and conservation of water resources both for drinking and industrial should be enhanced as well. Wastewater infrastructure should also be considered as an integral component in the investment allocation of the national budget (Rogers, 1996, p.g 21). Systems and processes should be established from the national levels towards enforcement of environmental flows integrated in all the major river systems (Rogers, 1996, p.g 21).
The federal governments efforts should not in any way try to preempt the local governments’ prerogatives in water conservation but rather should be geared towards assisting, informing and guiding local efforts. Finally an integrated approach involving all the stakeholders (that is government and citizens) should be adopted not to undermine conservation efforts but to improve and support them. For instance, when the Endangered species Act of 1973 was enacted, between management and development of state water systems, conflict arose between the protection of endangered aquatic species that are solely dependent on rivers for livelihood and the management of state water for the traditional purposes. Hence before any effort is implemented all the stakeholders should be involved in formulation of a holistic approach to enhance operations of national water policy and the subordinate Acts. In order for these approaches to yield substantial benefits, National Water Policy in its formulation should consider not only the economic benefits but also socio-cultural, political and diplomatic approaches for its success (Bonnie, & Kathrine, 2007, p.g 54).
For this plan to work effectively, a national and bipartisan water commission should be constituted to present recommendations on the way forward for the formulation of a Nation Water Policy which shall be acceptable by all (Rogers, 1996, p.g 23). An educative approach should be implemented to ensure all government agencies do understand the critical water security challenges and how to handle them as well.
Benefits of a National Water Policy
When a National Water Policy is implemented, several benefits will automatically accrue from its full adoption. Increased water supply will be realized with improved availability, quality of fresh water and the reliability for agricultural, municipal, industrial, security, energy and environmental needs (Water Policy 2011, n.g, par 2). With a national water policy in place, adverse effects like floods and drought will drastically be reduced due to implementation of advanced technology in the conservation of water, its sources to reduce effects of global warming and climatic changes (Water Policy, 2011, n.g, par 6). Water sustainability will also be achieved when a national water policy is in place according to clean water American Alliance 2011, par 9. When this plan is implemented, the devastating effects of climatic change will be greatly mitigated like floods and droughts (Ernest, 2004, p.g, 11).
The goals of National Water Policy will be realized when the federal government will commit enough resources to its implementation and sustenance. Like any other sector of the economy be it security, water policy needs to be financially supported by the government. Furthermore, the financial allocation for the ministry of natural resources should incorporate such a plan. Local government within their jurisdiction should also commit substantial amount of money in their budget allocation to the plan at their respective levels hence this plan is fully financed for its efficiency.
However, this plan involving formulation of a National Water Policy may not be the ultimate to alleviating all the shortages of water and its availability for municipal and industrial use.
Although this policy may go along in preserving the aquatic ecosystem of the country, it’s not sufficient to prevent catastrophes like floods, hurricanes and droughts as well. Even though the national water policy may be implemented and operational, it may not achieve its objectives due to either lack of adequate financing from the government, lack of enough personnel for implementation purposes (Dave, & Sander, 2009 p.g 4).
The plan may also lack proper support from the concerned government agencies especially at the local levels hence fails to achieve its objective. For a nation to achieve all its needs, water policy may not be the ultimate mean to accomplish this end. Up to 2006, United States did not have an elaborate comprehensive National Water Policy at the national level and still have substantial volumes of clean water both for industrial and municipal purposes (Rogers, 1996, p.g 27).
The absence of a national water policy has given autonomy to the state governments to implement their individual plans which is constitutional acceptable. Over decades, this has been the state which has seen adequate fresh water for American citizens. However for a sustainable fresh water supply, national plan for water management need to be in place and there is no substitutability for such a plan (Clean Water American Alliance, 2011, n.g, par 7). According to Rogers 2001, p.g 13, national water policy is fundamental even if it’s privatized but if forms a core role in water sustainability (Hans, & Jeremy, 1995, p.g 27).
In consideration of causes of droughts and other catastrophes in the history of United States, lack of national water policy is an insignificant cause of these disasters. Its absence has been over emphasized and the real issues ignored. Water management falls under the individual States according to the constitution hence a national water policy should be a combination of the individual plans (Rogers, 2001, p.g 11).
Clean Water America Alliance 2011, n.g, par 3 indicates that, for a sustainable water supply for this and future generations, an integrated and comprehensive water national policy is inevitable. Cousteau also supports this idea that for America to have well protected rivers, streams and ecosystems, a national water policy need to be in place and she advocates this through her organization – Blue Legacy (CBSNEWS, 2011, n.g, par 4). In his argument, Gerald 2003, p.g 1 reinstates his preposition that water is a big challenge in American hence need for preservation and he advocates for a national water policy (Dave, & Sander, 2009 p.g 5).
Roger 2001, p.g 23, states that, to achieve the objective of preventing destruction of water resources is a difficult process due to democratic space in America. To harmonize all the water policies of individual states is not only costly but a tedious process which may not achieve its objective. However for sustainable water availability and reliance requires a harmonized national water policy according to Ernest, 2004, p.g 25.
In conclusion therefore, a National Water Policy is not only important to the preservation of aquatic ecosystem but also for daily usage and support of livelihood. When water is used uncontrollably, the effects are devastating including exacerbating the effects global climatic change. Therefore a National Water Policy is an inevitable approach.
After considering all the benefits and effects of a National water policy, we conclude the thorny issue of whether it’s important in the management of water resource in United States.
Summarize Case for Proposition
Water is an essential component of human life which can not be separated from day to day living. However, without proper management of this important factor, human life is prone to suffer. In order to conserve and maintain water sustainability, several measures are paramount. Policies to govern usages, utilization and conservation of this fundamental resource are of great importance. National Water Policy is such one kind of an intervention. Without a well stipulated national water policy in place, the exploitation of this natural and valuable resource is prone for individual benefit as opposed to national interest. National Water Policy is the document that conserves, guides the utilization of water and stipulates ways and means of sharing this precious resource. Since the US did not have a well stipulated National Water Policy in place, several disasters have been experienced including droughts and floods as a results of misuse of this natural resource. Therefore it is prudent for the responsible authorities to enforce the strict adherence of the policy document to ensure this unevenly distributed and scarce resource serves to the interest of all.
Briefly Acknowledge Rebuttals
However, not all countries that have a strong National Water Policy that are able to mitigate the effects of water associated disasters adequately. Hence, the presence of National Water Policy may not be the ultimate solution to drought, flooding, climate change and global warming. Although the fact that the presence of such document may be ignored in importance to prevent and avert such kind of disasters, its pertinent that its implementation is a task that requires political and personal free will to achieve the objective. Despite the fact that State governments are autonomous in operations involving such matters, the Federal government has a fundamental obligation to incorporate a National Water policy in its operation and accord it the magnitude it deserves. Like the way national security is treated, national water policy should also be treated with the same weight in operation and financing to achieve its intended objective.
Rearticulate Strongest Arguments
Therefore a National Water Policy is not a matter of choice if the state is determined to ensure sustainable fresh water supply is achieved as well as mitigating natural disasters like flooding and drought.
Thousands have lived without love but not one without water. Water is a paramount component of human life and never can human life be sustained without water. For the world to have sustainable and fresh water, several conscious steps need to be undertaken to ensure the objective is achieved. United States of America has experienced water related catastrophes like drought and floods notwithstanding the adverse effects of several hurricanes in the recent past. These disasters may be averted if conscious steps are implemented and carried out to abate the current state. The uneven distribution and limited water resources in US also contributes to the necessities of implementing ways and means to conserve this rare resource. In order to achieve this objective, a National Water Policy is inevitable to ensure availability and sustenance of fresh water resource for both industrial and municipal utilities.
However, the presence of a national water policy is not a guarantee that the current predicaments facing United States will be alleviated. Some issues presented are over-emphasized hence may not depict the real state of water challenge. In addition, fixing a national water policy in a democratic state like US, is not only tiresome but time consuming. In one way or the other, even if the policy is finally formulated, implementation might pose serious hindrances due to the structure of governance hence rendering it less of its objectives. However we should not justify these shortcomings as a substitute of National Water Policy to conserve and preserve the Nation’s aquatic ecosystems not only for the present but also future generations.
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