Today is World Water Day. The water pictured above is Rock Springs, which is not far from our home in Florida.
Water is something I’ve never had to worry about. Lack of water may be the next world crisis after (or along with) climate change. It is a crisis for some people now. The Gana and Gwi Bushmen of Botswana are marking eight years without access to a regular supply of water (this is, in part, a man-caused issue). There are looming shortages in a number of other areas, some of it due to the shrinking/disappearance of glaciers, some of it due to excess water withdrawal to make bottled water.
[added later] I’m sure most everyone has heard of the fierce dust/sand storms in China this past week. This, of course, also relates to water.
“The storms are a product of worsening desertification in Inner Mongolia and other Gobi Desert regions hundreds of miles to the north and west of Beijing caused by overgrazing, deforestation, drought and urban sprawl.”
“In the past decade, Beijing has sought to counter the effects of desertification by planting grasses and billions of trees to hold back the desert, mostly to no avail. Along with bringing pollution, the storms underscore a looming water crisis in the north that the government is seeking to head off with a massive project to pump water from the south.”
[added even later] The UN reports that polluted water kills more people annually than all forms of violence, including war. “Sick Water” — the report from the U.N. Environment Program — said that 3.7 percent of all deaths are attributed to water-related diseases, translating into millions of deaths. More than half of the world’s hospital beds are filled by people suffering from water-related illnesses, it said.
The report says that it takes 3 liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water, and that bottled water in the U.S. requires the consumption of some 17 million barrels of oil yearly.
I try very hard to conserve water. I water the lawn only when there hasn’t been rain, and always comply with our local watering restrictions (and because I watch the rain, I usually don’t water nearly as much as is allowed). I don’t tolerate dripping faucets in the house. I’m doing a good bit of landscaping now (because the winter killed a lot of my shrubs), and am going the drought-tolerant route. I am also putting fewer shrubs in the lawn, and more gravel.
Water is not, or should not be, a political issue. It is a life issue. We are water creatures, to us, water is life. I just rode my bike, and have a large glass of filtered, chilled water next to me. I am blessed.
The picture below is Mead’s Quarry, just across the Tennessee River from Knoxville.