Humanity must have water to live! There is nothing that we can substitute for it! There is a finite amount of fresh water available to us across the planet. The competition for clean fresh water is increasing as the human population increases and our existing water continues to be polluted.
These statements are facts and whether we like it or not we must recognize that our very existence depends on clean water.
I recently watched a program on one of the science channels regarding weather predictions for the future and its effects on fresh water. It painted a very dismal picture. Part of it is global warming, but the fact which we all face is that water is in short supply and we must have it to live!
There have been fluctuations in our weather over the years ranging from ice sheets covering large expanses of our globe to much more temperate weather. I can't say that global warming is due entirely to mankind, but we sure are a factor that may be increasing the rate of warming.
Global warming is another subject although it is related to the amount of fresh water available.
What can be done to conserve the fresh water that we have available?
It does not take a genius to realize that governments are notoriously poor administrators, yet our governments are the administrators of our fresh water. Most of us do not care as long as we have the water we want, to use as we want, and when we want.
The day when we can no longer continue with that attitude has arrived! Should we be concerned? Absolutely! It's our lives and our children's lives we are talking about.
Take a look at what we the people of earth have done and continue to do. We have built water playgrounds in the deserts. Agri-businesses suck up water at astounding rates.
In many developed countries, most water shortfalls are due to inefficient government subsidies for agriculture and poor (if even that) treatment of our waste water.
Clean water is not like oil or natural gas. Both of those have alternatives; however, there is no alternative for water. We must have it! Our bodies and crops just will not accept anything else!
The United States has long had the availability of fresh clean water with little to worry about; however, this is not the case today in many parts of the USA.
A recent United Nations report warned that, "More than half of humanity will be living with water shortages, depleted fisheries and polluted coastlines within 50 years."
Texas and Florida are prime examples of overuse of aquifers for agriculture irrigation. The aquifers in both Texas and Florida were relatively near the surface not so many years ago. Today deeper taps are required to tap into the aquifers. Florida has been and is experiencing salt water incursion into their aquifers.
Texas seems to be headed toward private-for-profit water sales where the water from aquifers will essentially be "mined" and sold. Tapping into and using the aquifers is already being done, yet the government is "reluctant" to address the real issue of better and more efficient irrigation practices by agribusiness.
Private-for-profit water may be a solution, but it certainly has had documented problems and still does not really address the issue of a finite amount of water being available, except that it will cost more for users.
It appears fairly straight forward to a layman, but government will continue to study and has "studied" the problem but no definitive resolution has resulted. It reminds me of the saying, "They can't see the forest because of the trees."
This is happening now! Is no clean fresh water what we want to leave as a legacy for our children? I certainly hope not.
What can we do? There are many suggestions and measures that we can take such as:
Limit building that tries to make a water playground in desert areas.
Force developers to include in their projects provisions for water and adequate provisions for handling wastes produced by each of their projects.
Demand better irrigation practices in farming.
Stop government subsidies for agribusiness, especially relating to water.
Recognize that the human population and with it the need for clean water is increasing and will continue to do so, but the amount of fresh clean water is decreasing.
Force the governmental entities in charge of our water resources to recognize the water shortage and take immediate steps to stop wasting it. Not study it again, but take some positive steps now!
Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in Economics has stated: "Water has become a commodity whose quantity and quality are much too important to leave to the whims of public authorities. Water supply systems are in need of regulation through private ownership rights and markets for the transfer of these rights." In other words, if you have the money for water you can have it in the future.
Martin Lagod, a managing director and co-founder of Firelake Capital Management, which focuses on emerging technology companies stated in an article printed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, July 8, 2007: "Government mandates are part of the answer, but the real power lies in free market innovation. Companies that find solutions to this urgent problem stand to grow and benefit. Developing or adopting clean technology can be a means to drive higher profit margins and cut expenses - all while helping to protect the environment for future generations.
For our planet's future, we have to safeguard and make intelligent use of our water. We have an opportunity - and a moral obligation - to develop, use and invest in technological solutions that reduce water waste.
The water shortage crisis - a close second to the global warming crisis - needs to be at a higher level of awareness for our population. We assume water will be there forever, but that's not the case. We can no longer take it for granted. We have to put our best thinking, energy and resources into finding solutions while we still can."
Water rationing is already a fact of life in many areas of the world and within many parts of the USA. The fact of even less clean water being available is being realized right now! We fix the problems or we die! It's just that simple.
© John D. Beeson October, 2007