Water Distribution


"There is a water crisis today. But the crisis is not about having too little water to satisfy our needs. It is a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people - and the environment - suffer badly." -

Water distribution is a major challenge today, in terms of public health and the universal human right to affordable, clean water, as well as localized supply and demand challenges across our country and across the globe. We are so accustomed to turning on the tap or drinking fountain and instantly having a glass of clean, cold, potable water at our fingertips. However, many across the world do not have that luxury, where access to water (let alone clean water) poses a daily challenge or is prohibitively expensive. For a big picture look at these and other issues, the United Nations World Water Development Report offers an objective international perspective.

Across the globe (and here in the US), our population continues to grow. How does the location of sprawling population centers compare to water scarcity and abundance? Beyond water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, additional water is required for irrigating agricultural lands in areas where rainfall alone is insufficient. For instance, the Colorado River offers an interesting and thought-provoking case study centered around water management. It’s one of our country’s greatest rivers – we wouldn’t have the Grand Canyon without it! – and today it no longer reaches the sea. The Colorado River's ever-changing story includes such interwoven topics as geography, history, supply and demand, population growth, climate change, water rights/ownership, and water distribution infrastructure.

Enhanced Learning Activities