20 Science Questions for the 2016 Presidential Candidates --by Shawn Otto for sciencedebate.org; See the questions here: #10.
Without water there is no life. Ensuring access to safe clean water is a challenge that has always affected mankind. Towns tended to grow up near bodies of water both for easy access to water for drinking and sanitation but also for transportation. As climate change continues to worsen supplies of fresh clean water will continue to become more challenging because climate change can increase the risk of uneven rainfall and risk of droughts and flooding.
Evaluating and copying best practices from successful communities could help ensure access to safe water for more people.
Preserving water with improved farming methods and regulating where farming can occur is already becoming more critical in areas of California as the drought there has continued for more than one growing season. Water intensive crops should not be grown in areas with limited water so regulations regarding types of crops that farmers are allowed to grow may become necessary in some areas.
Storage tanks for collecting rain water has helped some California growers get through times with less rainfall. Rainfall storage tanks could help communities and other businesses too.
Bottled water companies need to be charged a business price for units of water taken from community water supplies as selling bottled water for individual use is not standard residential or business use of the community's natural resource (ground water can run out and leave wells dry, the bottle water company can move to another community but the families who lived in the community for generations may not prefer to just move away because their community's ground water had been sold).
Funding for research and development of energy efficient water purifiers and desalinization units is also a priority as we look into a warmer future with more people needing to eat, drink, and bathe. In the present, rehabilitation of aging water infrastructure could provide a few jobs and boost the current economy, and it might help protect the future from following in the footsteps of Rome (the lead lined water pipes may have added to population wide ill health and the collapse of the civilization. There was also lead in their food supply from other sources though too).
20 Science Questions
that U.S. presidential candidates were asked in 2016