Our Water Future


"Current state and federal water policies are wholly inadequate," asserts John Cronin, Beacon Institute Founder and former director/CEO, "if clean water, functioning ecosystems, and sustainable economic development are society's goals."

According to Cronin, new 21st century policies that embrace, encourage and reward innovation must be at the center of water resource management. And, unlike laws written in the 1970s, a new comprehensive water policy should integrate its goals for ecological, human and economic health.

The Pacific Institute estimates that between 36 million and 70 million people, mostly children in the developing world, will die from water pollution-related diseases by 2020. The New York Times reports that as many as 19.5 million Americans are made ill each year by biological contaminants in drinking water.

In New York's Hudson River, home to Beacon Institute, thousands of tons of municipal and industrial wastes are dumped annually. Sewage overflows are commonplace and people routinely swim near industrial and municipal outfalls. At least seven major fish species are in decline and health advisories about toxins in fish have been in place for 34 years. At least one city has a drinking water intake within two miles of its sewage plant discharge, and another has an intake 35 miles downriver of a PCB Superfund site.

No single discipline can cure the world's environmental ills. And no policies based on outdated technologies can provide the sweeping change necessary to address the enormity of the water crisis our world now faces.

Policy News

New York State Hydrokinetic Generation Environmental Policy Workshop

In the spring of 2012, Beacon Institute convened a workshop, made possible by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), to define and target specific recommendations and prioritizations for the environmentally-sound development of hydrokinetic energy in New York State. 60 respected leaders in the fields of policy, science, engineering and environment; state and federal regulators; and renewable energy industry professionals participated in the workshop, held at the New York State Judicial Institute on the Pace University campus in White Plains, New York.