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Expert to Address America’s Looming Water Crisis

May 12, 2011
By Alex Korsunsky '12

Robert Glennon, a leading expert on the water crisis in the American West, will speak at Carleton College on Monday, May 16 at 5 p.m. in the Boliou Hall auditorium. Glennon’s presentation shares the same title as his recently released book, “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It.”  This event is free and open to the public.

Managing to be both frightening and funny, “Unquenchable” (Island Press, 2009) reveals the contradictions of the water system in a country where the fountains of the Las Vegas Strip contrast with the bone-dry deserts of the West and where, even in Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, new ethanol plants are already sucking wells dry; it takes thousands of gallons of water to produce a single gallon of ethanol. Glennon argues that our water crisis cannot be solved through engineering or zany fixes; he rejects, for instance, the suggestion that some have made of towing southern icebergs from Alaska or diverting the Mississippi River to Nevada. Instead, Glennon controversially suggests a market-based water system that values water as both a commodity and as a basic human right.

“Unquenchable” won the 2010 Rachel Carson Book Award for Reporting on the Environment from the Society of Environmental Justice and Trout magazine gave it an Honorable Mention on its list of Must-Have Books on the environment. Glennon is the author of the acclaimed book “Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters” (Island Press, 2002), and has appeared as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Diane Rehms Show, and on NPR. He is a blogger for the Huffington Post, and his articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic, and the Arizona Daily Star, and his speaking engagements have taken him as far away as Switzerland, Australia, and Singapore. More information can be found online at

Glennon is the Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy at the Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, and is a member of the bar in Arizona and Massachusetts. He is a Water Policy Advisor to Pima County, Arizona, and is a member of the American Rivers’ Science and Technical Advisory Committee. Glennon received a J.D. from Boston College Law School and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University. 

This event is sponsored by Environmental Studies with support from the Ada M. Harrison Social Sciences Fund. For further information or disability accommodations, please contact