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Publication Information

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Title: Water and people: challenges at the interface of symbolic and utilitarian values.

Author: McCool, Stephen F. F.; Clark, Roger N.; Stankey, George H.

Date: 2008

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-729. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 246 p

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: The demand for water is rapidly increasing, but the uses to which that water is put and the values society places on water are changing dramatically. Water is the source of life, the sustenance for living, the resource needed for manufacturing, mining, agriculture; the element required to grow our lawns, to water our landscaping, to shower us with refreshment; it is the place where we play; it provides the snow for our winter recreation, and it provides the habitat for much of our wildlife. Water in contemporary American society is more than a simple physical entity, its symbolic values, and non-instrumental uses are growing in significance. As with many Native American cultures, water is as much a symbol as it is something to extract and use in the production of commercial products. This book is about the issues associated with these symbolic values and uses of water: the challenges they present—in our language, in our allocation mechanisms, in our communication—the conflicts raised; and the potential for resolving the difficult, contentious and complex issues concerning the use of water for various purposes. It is as much about framing the questions about symbolic values of water as it is anything else.

Keywords: Water, recreation, symbolism, uses and value

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • You may send email to pnw_pnwpubs@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)

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McCool, Stephen, F.; Clark, Roger N.; Stankey, George H., eds. 2008. Water and people: challenges at the interface of symbolic and utilitarian values. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-729. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 246 p

 


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