Monday, October 22, 2007

Thirsty

I just finished listening to parts of the Diane Rehm show on NPR. Today she covered a topic that has long bothered me - Water. I am often fearful that someday the planet will wither up and die because we have wasted all the water. I know some people think this is a little crazy considering that most of the world is covered in water, but the worry that we will not have enough has plagued me for most of my memorable life. I am sure some of it has to do with growing up in Iowa (I did not actually live on a farm ;-), and daily hearing the crop forecasts and the constant fear that there would be too little/too much/too late/too early rainfall. The amount of water was always a topic of conversation. I, evidently, took it to heart. To this day, I can not stand to water lawns. In fact, "lawns" make me a little uncomfortable because they are so unnatural and need so much water to maintain. Don't even get me started on golf courses. I even have a hard time watering the garden, even though I know it is sometimes necessary. I am hoping by next year we will have a rainwater collection tank that can drip irrigate our garden. I drive over the Mississippi almost every week and every week I take notice on whether it is high or low. I am most relaxed when it is high. I am glad that I live in the Midwest, though, because we are lucky that we do have all the resources we need. If we all tried to live more responsibly, we should have enough water for the long haul.

I am amazed, though, by people who choose to live in places where that is not the case. The southwest is one of the fastest growing places, yet one of the least able to support a larger population. Most of the food and water it needs is brought in. They are already experiencing the increasing battles over water rights. This is something we will all face, but due to their extreme "dryness" and population pressures theirs is imminent and severe. I don't think I could put myself or my family in such a non-people friendly environment. I know it is beautiful, but at what cost are you enjoying that beauty? Why do you choose a place and then put impossible demands on it to support you? People all over the world are already fighting on who owns the water, it scares me to think that someday the cost of water will be so high, only the wealthy can afford it and the rest of us are left to suffer.

6 comments:

jacqueline said...

I used to work for Bechtel and they got into HUGE trouble in South America for owning water... this is a real nightmare that can happen so easily. I think the first step was to create a NEED for us to buy bottled water. If you get used to buying water like that it is an easy step to having privatized water. We have stopped buying bottled water at our house.

plaidshoes said...

We don't buy bottled water, either. Something doesn't feel right about it :-).

That is a really interesting point, though. It never ceases to amaze me how corporations can ease their way into people's live without them realizing it. The UUSC as done a lot of work in South America about rights to water (including speaking out against Bechtel). I wish more people in the U.S. had a better understanding of this issue!

Melanie aka "Nappy" said...

I just learned today that the southeast (Atlanta, etc) has only a 90-day supply of water left due to the drought and their mismanagement of water resources.

Lake Superior is at record lows right now.

Access to clean, fresh water is certainly a very important issue and I think you really raise a good point about it. A great way to help is not to use bottled water - glad to see you and Jacqueline are already leading the way!

debra said...

All of the companies that market water create a need ---a perception of a need. This is, I think, a huge problem. That we buy into this and don't think for ourselves is another problem.

Frogdancer said...

Try living in Australia.

We've had a drought lasting for at least 7 years....

In the city I'm from, we have 30% capacity in our dams. This is leading into summer. We can water our gardens twice a week, from 6am - 8am. Most of us shower with buckets, so we can use the run off on our plants. Of course, this is when I start a veggie garden... good on me.

We also have a timer... 4 minutes in the shower. Absolutely do-able. You just can't dilly dally.

plaidshoes said...

I have heard of all the water issues facing Australia. I feel your country is really leading the way in water conservation and helping the rest of the "developed" world realize that we are all heading towards this problem. I hope your drought breaks and people don't forget all the water conservation methods they have put to use. I really wish more people in the US would take this issue to heart and make changes. Wouldn't that make a difference!?!