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  1. 1. 1 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations Fresh Water Scarcity and Its Impact on Organizations and Human Populations Allison Vaughan INTS 3300- Lesson 8 Dr. Gail Bentley Texas Tech University
  2. 2. 2 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations Abstract This paper reviews literature of six articles from the disciplines of Human Development and Family Studies and Organizational Leadership pertaining to the topic of how to best address the issue of fresh water scarcity and how to conserve limited fresh water resources. After analyzing the studies of scholars from these two disciplines, I will be using an interdisciplinary method integrating the ideas of both Human Development and Family Studies and Organizational Leadership to propose an answer to the research question of how we can conserve fresh water. My research supports the idea that in order to conserve our fresh water resources, we must abandon our current system of water management in favor of a restructuring that will allow us to reuse and recycle water and adequately fulfill the public need for fresh water as it is considered a basic human right since it is necessary for survival. I have concluded that the best way to do this is to find a way to create and utilize new water saving technologies.
  3. 3. 3 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations Fresh water resources are becoming scarce and current conservation efforts are proving inadequate. By examining the effects of fresh water scarcity in the human population of the United States through an interdisciplinary project using Repko’s 10 step process and the disciplines of Human Development and Family Studies and Organizational Leadership, I will provide ways in which a population can come together to save this resource. Fresh water scarcity is a complex problem because it affects virtually all life on earth. A proposed solution that will solve the problem of how to ensure a continual supply of fresh water to support the earth’s current and growing population will benefit everyone. In this paper I will focus on water shortage in the United States from the organizational and individual levels in order to propose a solution to the question of what can be done to reuse, recycle, or otherwise preserve fresh water resources. To address this problem I will be using an interdisciplinary approach. There are several reasons why an interdisciplinary approach is the most favorable way to address this problem. The problem of fresh water shortage is not confined to a single discipline. There are multiple perspectives regarding the issue of fresh water scarcity. I believe that using multiple perspectives to examine this problem will increase understanding and allow for new knowledge to be discovered. The second reason for using an interdisciplinary approach is that there is a desperate need to solve this problem. If fresh water resources are continually shrinking, then an adequate solution to this problem has not yet been proposed by one discipline alone. The formulation of new knowledge resulting from using an interdisciplinary approach can also result in the formulation of new solutions. Finally, in order to save fresh water resources, new technology may need to be generated. Transforming existing technologies by incorporating the ideas of relevant disciplinary insights could provide a viable solution to fresh water scarcity.
  4. 4. 4 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations Because fresh water shortage will affect every living being on the planet, there are multiple perspectives from which to view this problem. For example, Agricultural studies would be desperately affected by a water shortage, as water is necessary for crop production. Economics is also an important discipline to consider. As water becomes less available, it also becomes more valuable. An increase in the price of water and food would heavily impact the economy. I chose to focus my research on the effects that water shortage would have on the human population of the United States. In order to do this I chose to examine the disciplines of Human Development and Family Studies and Organizational Leadership and the viewpoints of these two disciplines on this topic. I chose Human Development because water is necessary for human development and for the survival of a population. I also chose to examine Organizational Leadership because water is a necessary resource for business and Organizational Leadership is often the force driving the success of any business venture. Human Development and Family Studies views water as a basic human right. Because water is a precondition for human life (Daci, 2012) everyone has a right to an adequate supply. The responsibility for the management and conservation of a population’s water supply should lie within the leaders of the population. States are obligated not only to provide water but to improve the water infrastructure (Huang, 2008). Improvements in water management can also be made at a corporate level. Increased awareness of the problem can come from corporate participation (Thor, 2013). Organizational Leadership views water as a form of capital. The most capital-intensive utility is water (Haarmeyer, 2011). Water is necessary for survival; therefore as the amount of available fresh water diminishes, the value of fresh water will increase. Theorists from this discipline see the decline in fresh water as a way to boost the economy. Some believe water
  5. 5. 5 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations prices should rise, while others view the lack of fresh water as a way to invent new ways to obtain and conserve water for the public, creating new jobs, and new industries. As demands for water increase, people are likely to become interested in water reuse (Bastian, 2006). Most from this discipline view the public as being primarily responsible for water usage. They believe it is the responsibility of the individual to conserve and limit water usage. The majority of people take the availability of water for granted (Sadeq &Houria, 1999). Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the needs of an individual or a population of individuals and how external or internal influences affect the individual or population’s development in a positive or negative way. The external influence of fresh water greatly impacts the individual or population as it is a necessary resource for survival. Because fresh water is a necessary resource, it is deemed as a human right. Failure to receive adequate amounts of fresh water leads to the inability to sustain the life of a population and of the individuals within the population. Therefore, the leaders of this population must be responsible for providing adequate amounts of fresh water to its population. Failure to do this is an infringement on human rights. This discipline most often uses qualitative methods to gather research as these methods tend to favor more of the human aspect under study rather than relying on quantitative data. Organizational Leadership focuses on the structure of an organization; how it is run, and the benefits the system provides to both the public and employees. Part of a successful organization is successful management and Organizational Leadership often has the means to put ideas into action. Fresh water is a necessary resource to run businesses and to sustain the economy. The development of new technologies in the fresh water industry could enhance our
  6. 6. 6 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations current resources. Organizational Leadership favors quantitative methods to collect data and information used to help a business or an industry achieve and maintain success. I began researching sources from the discipline of Human Development and Family Studies in order to better understand how the issue of water scarcity affects the individual and the population. I was searching for information on how this discipline views the problem of water scarcity and what scholars from this discipline believe should be done to alleviate the problem. Daci (2012) emphasizes that because water is necessary for survival, it should be treated as a human right and protected by international law enforced by national authorities. The way to do this is to establish international treaties providing new laws and a new international framework overseen by the UN that will address the need of water conservation. Thor (2013) supports the theory that water, as necessary to sustain life, is a basic human right. Yet only a small percent of the world’s water is available for human use. In order to resolve the crisis of limited fresh water, leaders of the United States must declare water as a human right and acknowledge water sustainability as a global issue. Huang (2008) agrees that water is an essential human right as it is necessary for survival. Once again she believes that states are obligated to provide water to their population. Therefore the management of water to ensure delivery of an adequate supply to a state’s population must come from a population’s leaders. I also began researching sources from the discipline of Organizational Leadership. Again, I was searching for information about how this discipline views the water scarcity problem and what solutions this discipline has proposed. Bastian (2006) believes the key to water conservation is the development of water reuse programs. Finding ways to reuse and recycle water can potentially save fresh water resources if
  7. 7. 7 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations people can find ways to recycle water for personal use. Such programs currently face resistance for personal use. However, due to continual population growth these programs are becoming necessary to sustain fresh water resources. Haarmeyer (2011) sees water scarcity as beneficial to the economy. As water becomes scarce, organizations will be forced to develop ways in which to conserve it. Another benefit is that the price of water will increase to reflect its true value. Higher prices will encourage consumers to make conservation efforts. Sadeq & Houria (1999) believe that the increased population of humans in certain parts of the world causes an increase in the demand for water in that area, thus making water scarce. They agree that meeting the needs for fresh water have become challenging for the leaders of a population. However, the creation and use of new technologies can provide a new way to alleviate the demand for water. Conflict occurs between the basic assumptions of the two disciplines. The disciplines disagree on where the responsibility lies for water usage and fresh water maintenance. Organizational Leadership sees the public as primarily responsible for water usage as they make up the population and are to blame for the majority of water being used. Human Development believes that adequate water management and distribution are the responsibilities of a population’s leaders. The common ground is that both disciplines recognize the need for fresh water. Although the disciplines differ in who is responsible for active water conservation, it is not important who is to blame. The need is for a way in which fresh water can be conserved and guaranteed to fulfill the needs of the population and sustainability of the economy. Both disciplines recognize in their viewpoints that for successful water management and conservation, freshwater organization must
  8. 8. 8 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations be improved. The freshwater conservation crisis can be viewed as an opportunity to improve our current system of water management. Steps to improving our current water management system will occur at both the organizational and individual levels. I propose that a reorganization of water management will include developing a way in which water can be reused and recycled. The development of technologies to drive water reuse will occur at the organizational level. Management of successful water saving technologies needs successful management. Thus the management will be essentially providing water to the population. However, the population must participate by reusing water for personal use that will contribute to conservation efforts. This proposal includes the need for the development of new technologies, thus creating a water saving industry, providing new jobs that will stimulate the economy. It will also ensure a safe and adequate supply for individual consumption. My proposal provides an interdisciplinary solution formulated to satisfy the demands of both Human Development and Family Studies and Organizational Leadership. I believe my proposal contributes a viable potential solution to the problem of water scarcity that warrants further study. While my proposal included two disciplines who will be actively involved, it also warrants the contributions of other disciplines. Particularly the disciplinary perspectives of economics and finance. The economy will be affected by the creation of a new water saving industry as part of my proposal. The discipline of economics may have further contributions that could further my ideas. Another important factor is how to finance new technologies. For this the discipline of finance must be consulted. If a future interdisciplinary study were to be done on the basis of my proposal, I would suggest integrating these two additional disciplines.
  9. 9. 9 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations References Bastian, R. (2006). The future of water reuse. BioCycle., 47(5), 25-27. Retrieved from 4194-99de- 4ce333867c9f@sessionmgr10&hid=14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ Daci, J. (2012). Protection of the human right to water under international law: The need for a new legal framework. Academicus, (6), 71-77. Retrieved from 4194-99de- 4ce333867c9f@sessionmgr10&hid=14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ Haarmeyer, D. (2011). A fresh look at U.S. water and wastewater infrastructure: The commercial and environmentally sustainable path forward. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 23(3), 41-52. Doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6622.2011.00340.x Huang, L. (2008). Not just another drop in the human rights bucket: the legal significance of a codified human right to water. Florida Journal of International Law, 20(3), 353-370. Retrieved from c0a9d50151e6c0@sessionmgr111&hid=101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ== Sadeq. , & Houria, T. (1999). A rare and precious resource. UNESCO courier, 52(2), 18. Retrieved from
  10. 10. 10 FreshWater Scarcityand Its Impacton OrganizationsandPopulations a9d50151e6c0@sessionmgr111&hid=4211&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ== Thor, E. M. (2013). The human right to water in the United States: Why so dangerous?. Pacific McGeorge Global Business & Development Law Journal, 26(1), 315-341. Retrieved from 793c-4194-99de- 4ce333867c9f@sessionmgr10&hid=14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ