Sunday, February 05, 2012

Water world . . .

CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, ARIZONA: three states where water is becoming top-of-mind, because it may become rather scarce. According to Austin Troy's Design Observer article, "Thirsty City", it's been a long time coming.

"Under no contingency does the natural face of Upper California appear susceptible of supporting a very large population"

So wrote Navy lieutenant Henry Augustus Wise, after spending considerable time in the Golden State in 1847. Although Lieutenant Wise would no doubt be surprised to know that California is now home to almost 40 million people, the fundamental water constraints that he described exist today. As Zev Yaroslavsky, a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, put it: "Water is probably the single most vexing issue that we have in ... places like Southern California, because it's in such short supply. Water is a more valuable commodity in some respects than oil — or it will be over time."
• • •
Indeed, metropolitan Los Angeles could not support a fraction of its current population without imported water, which today accounts for nearly three-quarters of supply. Water distribution and treatment alone account for about 18 percent of all energy consumed in the region, making it the invisible energy hog, rarely seen, poorly understood and ever on the verge of crisis.
• • •
But what does it mean to be water-rich? It's often assumed that east of the Great Plains, water is plentiful. This was true once, when populations were lower; but today parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast verge on crisis. In 2007-08, the Southeast had such a prolonged and severe drought that boat launches in reservoirs wound up hundreds of feet from water lines, neighboring states battled over river allocations, and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue called for a statewide "day of prayer for rain." Even Florida, once rich in freshwater habitat, is experiencing a crisis; with an astounding 90 percent of supply coming from pumped groundwater, the state is depleting its aquifers so fast that entire houses are being swallowed up by sinkholes as the ground subsides. 

If things keep drying out in the south-west, American politics are going to get radical. Especially when the 99% find out that the 1% have bought up underground water rights in the south-west.


Gloria said...

Oh well!!! By all means, lets keep using obscene amounts of water for fracking, we get free home heat, by lighting the water from our faucets on fire and the clean underground water poisoned for miles. The dirty tar sands poisoned the huge Athabasca watershed. Toxic waste dumped into lakes. Pipeline spills poisoning rivers and streams, and clean underground drinking water, every day.

There is no shortage of water, there is a lot of water, only it's all being poisoned.

But, remember there is no climate change. The high Arctic isn't melting away, nor are the glaciers. There is no increase in number and ferocity of, tornado's, hurricanes, floods nor droughts. There is no huge hole in the ozone.

The silly Canadian and U.S. citizens are just imaging, a shortage of clean drinking water, and the savage droughts in the U.S. At least, that's what Harper and Obama think. The citizens and all the Aboriginal people, in both country's, are just trying to fool, Harper and Obama.

Helen Bushnell said...

Gloria, I agree. There would be no shortage of water if we were not wasting it. And don't forget how much water we use to keep our lawns looking like plastic.

Renter said...

And of course we'll allow private corps to own water in Canada and sell it to the US under NAFTA so that we can all get screwed together.

In some states it's actually illegal to collect your own rainwater. It's owned by someone else you see - that water was destined for somewhere else.