The Global Water Crisis: U.S
Category : Updates
Article by: John Hawthorne, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef estimates that 2.6 billion people live with adequate sanitation 1.1 billion people live without access to clean drinking water period. Water is the key component in all our of daily lives no matter where we live. Not only for human use, industry, energy, agriculture and livestock. If you look at the earth 75% of it is water the problem is only 3% of the water is fresh. Out of the 260 river basins that are shared by two or more countries most do not have an institutional or legal agreement to dictate the handling of water treatment and contamination. The Aral sea in central asia, translates into “sea of islands” which refers to the 1500 islands that once existed. Today the sea is down to 10% of its original size. The same thing is happening in other places which were once lush and are now turning into desert. The implications of a water shortage has already caused aggravated tensions considering agriculture and power generation. Without a doubt water along with oil is going to be a huge issue throughout this century.
In the united states the Ogallala Aquifer which is the worlds largest amount of fresh water that is found in one spot is an underground lake that that goes from Colorado to Texas. With an average of 50 to 300 feet in depth this underground lake has fed America’s plains for a long time. It however like an oil well is succumbing to drainage. When first measure it had an average depth of 200ft and now it has an average depth of 80 ft. Recently there was a story about a town in Texas named “Happy” which was reliant on the aquifer has simply ran out of water to feed its agriculture. This once booming town has seen its underground water depths fall to between 0 and 50ft. Many wells have dried up and many farmers have had to hand over their land to American conservation program in exchange for grants. The U.S department of agriculture recently stated that “The [water] supply is going to run out and the plains will be uneconomical to farm”. The estimation by the USDA is that this will take place within the next 60 years. This is a very terrifying thought when we think of the way that cities have been rapidly developing throughout the country around a resource that will someday become unsustainable.
Another example is the Colorado river. The river used to run into the pacific however not anymore. After it passes through las Vegas and irrigates the west nothing makes it’s way into the ocean. The government planning of people to live in what is virtually the middle of nowhere is partially to blame as the dependence on oil and fresh water will be very troublesome to those living in what is becoming a desert. In areas of Africa there have been examples of there being so much water pulled out of the ground for the purpose of relocating to provide bottled drinking water that entire towns have become deserts.
As the Earth’s population continues to grow we will see further evidence of the facts about a global water shortage. According to consulting firm Mckinsey & Company in 20 years the demand for water will be 40% higher than it is today. This is due to that this is tied into agriculture and rising food price inflation. 71% of global water draws today go towards irrigating our food. The U.S government has failed its people by handing out subsidies to farmers that grow in locations that need an exceptional amount of water. Money is also handed out in misguided attempts to make food into fuel (i.e growing corn for ethanol). This idea drives up food costs and is basically wasting precious water resources. When you consider that it takes 2.5 gallons of water just to produce a piece of paper and 39,000 gallons to produce a car you realise the sheer necessity to find alternative solutions to the problems that traditional irrigation and production methods are causing.