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Wherever we live, we need water to survive. Not only is the human body sixty percent water, but water is also essential for producing the things we need like food, clothing, and computers; moving our waste stream; and keeping us and the environment healthy.


And yet, while water scarcity is an abstract concept to some, it is a stark reality to many--some regions seem flush with fresh water, while others face drought and pollution. Myriad environmental, political, economic, and social forces produce this water scarcity. 


During the summer of 2010, I visited Thompson Lake in Casco, Maine. One of the most pristine lakes in the state, this 12-mile-long lake is situated next to the Poland Spring Aquifer. I was struck by the silky, smooth quality of the water. Sipping it as I swam, a sense of gratefulness overcame me. The purity of the water here is no accident.


Through education programs and monitoring of the lake and its watershed, The Thompson Lake Environmental Association preserves the lake's natural beauty, water quality, and biological diversity. Such practices set a prime example of how we might effectively conserve and manage the fresh water we have on our planet.


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