Congressman John Linder Joins His Colleagues On The Water Caucus To Discuss Ways To Improve And Enhance Our Conservation Efforts
On September 15, 2009, Representative John Linder (R-GA) joined his colleagues in Congress to continue the serious discussion and examination of America's water issues. Today's well-attended water policy event featured a number of individuals from Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund.
Linder stated after the event, "In 2007, I co-founded the Congressional Water Caucus in response to the growing need for Congress to tackle water issues. Between 1940 and 2008, fresh water withdrawals around the world increased by a factor of five. Meanwhile, contamination by pollutants decreased the world's supply of fresh water. As the earth's population continues to grow, water shortages will continue to strike the United States in the next few decades. The irrigation necessary to produce food for our growing population will increase. The drinking water required to satiate growing urban populations will increase. However, our supply of fresh water will not increase, unless we begin to invest in new approaches to water management now."
In 2007, Coca-Cola announced an ambitious goal to return 100% of the water used in its beverages and production back to nature -- to achieve balance in the communities in which it operates. The Company stated that it "plans to do this by reducing the amount of water used to produce its beverages, recycling water used for manufacturing processes so it can be returned safely to nature, and replenishing water in communities and nature through locally relevant projects." During the educational event, the briefing's speakers discussed these goals, reviewed the programs that are underway to achieve these goals, and reported on the progress made thus far.
"Many know that we clearly need to do a better job with conservation. Our traditional conservation efforts are no longer sufficient. There needs to be a serious commitment from our leadership to address the issue of water supply, drought, and declining infrastructure through the implementation of recycling, reuse, and systematic audits. We need to find ways to reuse water multiple times. Can we do a better job of conserving and recycling water in our homes and industries? Yes. Can we work to reduce the amount of water lost while being transported to our farms? Absolutely. But realistically, we also have to favor efficient production along with increased conservation. Do we want to continue reacting to the water shortage problem, or start taking pro-active measures so that five or ten years down the line we don't have to ask the government for permission to take a bath or wash our clothes?"
Linder also remarked that it has always been the goal of the Caucus to share with Congress, the Administration, local water managers, stakeholders, and interested individuals a variety of conservation success stories from public and private entities involved in water resources management throughout the world to find out what works and what doesn't work. Moreover, what the various economic, environmental, and social impacts of each of the feasible technologies are.
"There are a number of individuals and organizations throughout the world that are doing a great job in terms of conservation. Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund are considered one of the global leaders in balancing the use of this limited resource with increased production. We can learn a lot from them. This strategy coordinates water management efforts on all levels, without encroaching on local water managers' authority. It offers guidelines that support new technologies. And, it is working to reduce the red tape often faced by local communities desiring to take action and work with these organizations to meet local water challenges. Moreover, its broad education campaign has instilled a quantifiable value on water resources at various levels of the public and private sector. These organizations know well the worth of water when the well runs dry.'"
The engineering expertise exists to ensure future Americans' access to fresh water. However, many note that we lack the comprehensive strategy to manage the planning and interagency coordination with the private enterprise necessary to implement this expertise. Following the example of Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund is a win-win for everyone. Linder expressed his enthusiasm for the continuing series of discussions on water issues, including conservation, increased capture and storage, and the collection of better data.