What is the real cost of water we use? That’s the question being asked by the Stanford Graduate School of Business California, USA. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, noted the world is depleting some important water resources necessary for growing food and sustaining fisheries, during his address to Stanford students during the 2010 Conradin von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment.

“As our population grows, the competition for water for grows,” said Gleick, a MacArthur fellow and recognized expert on water resources, as he outlined the water supply challenges in the western United States. In some places in the West, such as the groundwater aquifers in California’s Central Valley, we have reached a peak in water production. Agriculture has so depleted those nonrenewable aquifers that half of the supply is used up.

“As we take more and more water we reach a point where if we use one more unit it causes more harm than provides benefits,” Gleick said. “In many places we are past peak ecological value.” To read the full release, click here.

ACT’s next session six-month session topic is Water Security, and will assess the impacts and explore policy responses at community, regional and national levels, including trans-boundary issues, and is designed to include a focus on Canada’s First Nations. ACT has engaged eminent Canadian expert Bob Sandford as the Water Security policy author.