Don’t Take Our Water Supply for Granted

PBS’s three part series on the water molecule is a call for a long-term plan to preserve and protect water, making it abundantly clear how human life depends in so many ways on H2O. A major flaw of democracy is that it seems to invest in cleaning up preventable negative consequences rather than investing in our future even when small investments reap large rewards. Costly prisons and homeless programs but too little for growing and educating healthy adults who will pay taxes. Costly fires in terms of human lives and homes but too little for adequate maintenance of power lines. Costly emergency care but too little for preventive care. Our shortsightedness on water is even worse. We can’t make more water if we consume it all.

In only three episodes, the series covers the history of water’s role on Earth from how life developed and Earth became  the only known fertile planet, how dependent humans are on water for life, and how it is begin consumed faster than it is being replenished. Even I, as an avid environmentalist worried about draining aquifers and taking seriously the idea that WWIII will be about water, was aghast that the global battle has already begun. Land with water beneath is being purchased by countries and corporations outside of their own countries. Dams are interfering with access to water.

While matter cannot be created out of nothing nor be destroyed, the distribution of water has become highly uneven. We suffer both droughts and floods.

Many of the facts in the series, which inspired me to dig up even more were surprising.

* 92% of the water humans consume goes into the food we eat. Makes the enormous of food waste even more concerning.

* It takes 26 gallons of water to produce a tomato

* Water is used in the manufacture of many, many products

 

Car 13,737 – 21,926 gallons
Leather Shoes 3,626 gallons
Smart phone (mobile) 3,190 gallons
Bed Sheet (cotton) 2,839 gallons
Jeans (cotton) 2,108 gallons
T-shirt (cotton) 659 gallons

The series raises the interesting question about who owns the water in the deep underground. Is it like the air above the ground, which everyone has the right to breathe or is it like a pig trough that whoever dips in a straw and drinks the fastest gets the most. Currently in this country, it is like the latter where anyone who can reach it on land they own can send down pipes and pump away.

There are populated parts of the world such as the Gaza Strip that are becoming unlivable because of lack of water. The series suggests water shortages have contributed to migration and political unrest. I know that farmers are leaving South America because drought has destroyed their income.

I liked to listen to the Dr. Dean Edell radio program and not just because my daughter, Heather produced it. I loved his idea that all candidates for a major public office ought to pass a science test. We are going to have to consider desalinating our oceans.

Stay safe, everyone, and cherish and save water.

 

 

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