Every community of humans faces a life-or-death question: How do we distribute water? Some water has to be he
ld as a community resource if a town, city, or even nation is to survive. Many early human settlements were based on ir
rigation systems. These exist because earlier people agreed where the water should flow and to whom. Wells in desert l
ands are protected by cultural traditions that make them a shared resource among traveling peoples. Many large lakes, s
uch as Lake Michigan in the United States, are mostly reserved for public use, not for the people who own houses on th
Water-use laws can prevent a few powerful people from gaining control over all available water. But water laws
do not make water freely available in equal amounts to everyone. Farmers need huge amounts of it. So do many indust
ries. Families, however, do not need nearly that much. There is also the issue of pollution. Water laws must prevent ca
reless (or intentional) pollution by some users before the water reaches all users.
Problems occur when government is not strong enough to make and enforce laws. Often, the water in dispute is a
n international (or interstate) resource. For example, the Mekong River in Southeast Asia starts in China and then winds
through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The Vietnamese government, no matter how conscientious it is, has little contro
l over how much of the Mekong water reaches Vietnam and what kind of condition it is in. The upstream nations, espec
ially China, determine that. As upstream dams take more of the river, Vietnam has a greater need to negotiate an effecti
ve water-rights agreement with other governments. International agreements have worked elsewhere. We will see if the
y will work along the Mekong.
【Group】46. Which of the following is the best title for the passage?
(A)Preventing Water Pollution
(B)Sharing the Water Resource
(C)Enforcing Water-Use Laws
(D)Signing a Water-Right Agreement