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Getting Started

Water stress affects every continent in the world, including North America. According to CEO Water Mandate, a UN Global Compact Initiative that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), water stress refers to the strain to meet human and ecological demand for fresh water. Water stress “considers several physical aspects related to water resources, including water availability, water quality, and the accessibility of water, which is often a function of the sufficiency of infrastructure and the affordability of water, among other things.” In 2019, a study examined 204 watersheds in the United States and found that shortages will likely occur in 83 basins in the near future (2021–2045), 92 basins in the mid-future (2046–2070), and 96 basins in the far future (2071–2095) if no adaptation measures are taken. These shortages are projected to happen even with continued improvements in water efficiency on pace with the rate at which water efficiency is changing today. As U.S. water supply decreases, demand for water throughout the United States is set to increase due to a rise in population, exacerbating the challenge.

As a group, identify a city, region within a state, or state in the United States that is already facing water stress or will experience water stress in the near or relatively near future. Research the extent of current and expected future water stress and how current mitigation strategies are insufficient, if they exist in the first place. Develop a strategy around (a) techniques and innovation to reduce water stress beyond existing strategies and (b) changes in industrial and residential routines and habits. In order to help ensure that your strategy can be implemented in a real-world setting, you will need to connect with relevant stakeholders and integrate their information and insights into your project.

Alternatively, focus on one specific area or state in the United States where speculators are accused of buying up properties for their water rights only in hopes of future profit, without concern for the public interest. As one article from 2021 points out, “from the Western Slope of the Rockies to Southern California, a proliferation of private investors like Greenstone have descended upon isolated communities, scouring the driest terrain in the United States to buy coveted water rights.” Explore the validity of such claims, examine the usefulness of market-based and other approaches when dealing with water rights, and offer one or more original solutions that best serve the public. Reach out to stakeholders and integrate their views into your project.



Reference resources provide a starting point for your research projects.

Credo Reference

Credo Reference provides hundreds of encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauri, and more in one place. Below is a sample of keyword searches in Credo Reference related to this topic:

Call Numbers & Subject Headings

You can use the list of call numbers and subject headings below as keyword searches in our catalog and databases, or you can go to these sections of the library to find books on these topics.

  • GB651-2998: Hydrology. Water.
  • RA565-600: Environmental health.


Books from Lane Library

The books in this list are located either in the Franzen Center on Floor 3A or as an e-book.

Search terms for additional books in Lane Library’s catalog: 

Discovery Search: Search Lane Library’s books, ebooks, and articles in one place.

Books from other libraries

WorldCat: Search for books not available at Lane Library and borrow from other libraries for free through interlibrary loan.



The following databases are useful places to search for water-related articles. Contact a librarian if you would like more information on how to search for articles on your specific topic.

  • Academic Search Complete: Wide range of academic disciplines, including for scholarly and popular journals.
  • Greenfile : Collection of scholarly, government, and general interest titles covering environmental studies.
  • New York Times: Access to news and archival content from NY Times. If you run into a paywall, here is more information on how to sign up.
  • ProQuest Research Library: Includes both popular and scholarly periodicals covering a variety of subjects, with over 3300 titles available in full text.
  • ProQuest Social Science Journals: Social science topics.

Get articles from other libraries

If you cannot find a full-text version of the article you need, request it through interlibrary loan. Interlibrary loan is a free service that allows you to borrow books and articles from other libraries. Find answers to frequently asked questions about ILL here.

Government Sources, Statistics, and Websites

Government sources


Andrew Prellwitz

Prellwitz, Andrew

Library Director and User Services Librarian Departments: Instruction, Archives, Electronic Resources

[email protected]