The Western Water Crisis and the Mandate of Stewardship


Published June 15, 2022

WORLD Opinions

If you live in the eastern two-thirds of the United States, odds are you’ve noticed a dingy haze in the sky several days this spring—the smoke from massive wildfires raging in the Southwest. Although it’s early in the fire season, the southwestern states have seen unrelenting critical fire conditions for weeks, thanks largely to a multiyear megadrought that is now, studies suggest, the region’s worst since A.D. 800.

Even as the nation’s most arid region becomes steadily drier, the population of the Southwest paradoxically continues to surge. The region features five of the 10 fastest-growing states and two of the five fastest-growing metropolitan areas, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Less rainfall plus more people equals a water crisis that has become too urgent to ignore and offers a valuable case study on the challenges of stewarding Earth’s finite resources.

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Brad Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the founder and president of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute–Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, S.C., with his wife, Rachel, and four children.

Photo by Mike Newbry on Unsplash


Brad Littlejohn, Ph.D., is a Fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping public leaders understand the intellectual and historical foundations of our current breakdown of public trust, social cohesion, and sound governance. His research investigates shifting understandings of the nature of freedom and authority, and how a more full-orbed conception of freedom, rooted in the Christian tradition, can inform policy that respects both the dignity of the individual and the urgency of the common good. He also serves as President of the Davenant Institute.

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