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Freshwater For The Future (IF Discussion Guide)

The 32-page discussion guide, Freshwater For The Future, was edited by Shannon Wheatley Hartman Ph.D. and Dennis Boyer, and published on Interactivity Foundation’s site in January 2016. This discussion guide explores multiple dimensions around water issues and the future of water needs.

You can view the discussion guide in full on IF’s site and it can also be downloaded as a PDF for free here.

IF_FreshwaterFrom Interactivity Foundation…

Water, water, not everywhere… and maybe soon not a drop fit to drink. Water issues present a convergence of issues relating to population, where and how we live, how we have modified our environment, and how we produce our food, fiber, energy, and material goods. Water has been one of our primary “commons” and here in the United States has often been treated as an inexhaustible resource. Environmental indicators suggest that era is coming to an end. Water is worth discussing now as an issue that promises to be ever more prominent in the coming years.

This project will explore the public policy possibilities surrounding the issue of freshwater. We will examine how regulation, supply, and access to water shape our lives, vitality of cities, international relationships, and sense of stewardship of the planet. The various dimensions of water will include, but are not limited to: access to water, water as a natural right, riparian water rights, regulation of water supply, water as habitat (inland fisheries, biological reserves), water as security (local, national, human, food), agriculture, health of aquifers, clean water as key to public health, and water as component of community and economic development.

Outside the parameters of this project are: maritime issues and law of the sea, naval security issues, water as energy source, and the physical public works of dams, levees, jetties, harbors, canals, aids to navigation, and so on—except insofar as they relate to the freshwater dimensions above.

In this project we will explore the types of water needs we will have in the future. We will imagine the role that public policy might play in addressing these needs. Is access to water a natural right? Do we imagine a future where everyone has as much water as he or she needs? Do we imagine societies existing in traditionally inhospitable, arid lands? Will conflict between nations proliferate due to water demands? Will climate change force us to rethink our relationship with water? Our decisions about water have far ranging impacts. Access to water affects where and how we live, the kind of environment we have around us, and the kinds of social and economic development we achieve. Access to water has had long standing implications for gender equality, health, and mobility. So what kinds of choices might we make when it comes to thinking about policies surrounding water?

The PDF version of this report is available for download here.

About the Interactivity Foundation
The Interactivity Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to enhance the process and expand the scope of our public discussions through facilitated small-group discussion of multiple and contrasting possibilities. The Foundation does not engage in political advocacy for itself, any other organization or group, or on behalf of any of the policy possibilities described in its discussion guidebooks. For more information, see the Foundation’s website atwww.interactivityfoundation.org.

Follow on Twitter: @IFTalks

Resource Link: www.interactivityfoundation.org/discussions/freshwater/

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