The tremendous loss of groundwater has been a longstanding concern in Kansas, where areas of the High Plains aquifer have plummeted. Groundwater Citizenship: Well Owners, Environmentalism, and the Depletion of the High Plains Aquifer investigates water conservation efforts, environmental priorities, and water supply awareness among private water well owners, a key social group whose water usage is pivotal to safeguarding aquifers. This book discusses how reliance on private and public water supplies influences watering practices by asking if owning a well changes the propensity to conserve water. To explore how water supplies shape environmental actions and beliefs, sociologist Brock Ternes constructed a one-of-a-kind dataset by surveying over 850 well owners and non-well owners throughout Kansas. His analyses reveal that well ownership influences several dimensions of water consumption, and he identifies how Kansans’ notions of environmentalism are recalibrated by their systems of water provision. This book frames well owners as unique conservationists whose water use is shaped by larger structures—aquifers, water laws, and food systems. Groundwater Citizenship takes a sociological look at water systems to facilitate adaptive approaches to sustainable resource management.
Brock Ternes is visiting assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina - Wilmington.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Overworked Ogallala
Chapter 2: Strategies to Manage Groundwater in Kansas
Chapter 3: Water Supplies and Practice
Chapter 4: Investigating Groundwater Citizenship
Appendix to Chapter 4
Chapter 5: Hydrologic Habitus and Unique Environmentalism
Appendix to Chapter 5
Chapter 6: Saving for a Dry Day
Appendix to Chapter 6
Chapter 7: Policymaking for Groundwater Economies
Chapter 8: Aquifer Ethics and Resiliency in Lands of Underground Rain
About the Author
This manuscript provides a unique perspective regarding a precious natural water resource that is often overlooked and misunderstood by the general public. The author does a great job of describing the groundwater depletion issues in Kansas but the ideas put forth in his writing can also apply globally. Groundwater Citizenship identifies groundwater management issues and policy recommendations that have laid dormant for too long. If we want to create a sustainable future and manage our environmental resources, I think this book presents thoughts and suggestions that will be an essential part of that discussion.
Brock Ternes thoughtfully crafts a unique argument for distinguishing well owners as a distinctive community of water users. His analysis expands our understanding of the complex sociological underpinning of society’s water use decisions, an understanding essential for facing an ever deepening groundwater crisis.