“Thank you, congressman. Here at the USGS we follow the laws of nature, not the laws of man.”

Science journals Editor-in-Chief Dr Marcia McNutt discusses the Western Hemisphere-wide crisis brought on on massive drought.

Dr McNutt concludes her editorial with:

Surface- and groundwater are all part of one coupled system, responding on different time scales to changes in precipitation. Five years ago when I was director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), an Arizona congressman had some concerns about a USGS report on the impact of overpumping of groundwater on surface stream flows. The congressman declared, “You all should be aware that according to Arizona state law, surface water and groundwater flows are decoupled.” Jim Leenhouts, the USGS associate director for the Arizona Water Science Center responded, without hesitation, “Thank you, congressman. Here at the USGS we follow the laws of nature, not the laws of man.” It is high time we started managing our precious water supplies in harmony with the laws of nature.

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