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Water, water, everywhere …

October 15th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Water, water, everywhere

Where it comes from

Where it goes

Does anyone care?

Water, water, everywhere,

From the sky, from the ground,

What it costs we seem unaware

Does anyone care?

For most people in the developed world, clean water is a given. And, using that water for play (pools), friviolity (whether Las Vegas fountains or greening the law), and flushing a bug down the toilet is a no-brainer part of existence.  Our water issues are a mirror and complementary path toward the insanity of our fossil-foolish energy system.

Water plays a major role in our energy system: what, after all, is getting boiled by burning coal to create electricity? And, that electricity is used for water service — irrigation, pumping, cleaning.  Our energy actions and energy choices have a direct impact on our water supplies — wind and (pv) solar are far less water dependent; reducing our water demands translates directly to reduced energy use and reduced pollution.  Our choices — from the individual to the organizational to the societal — matter.

And, while water is seemingly unlimited, there are real and true limits. These are being faced in some regions of the world on a constant basis with inadequate water supplies to support the existing population (let alone future population growth). And, in too many places of the world, our profligate pulling of fossil acquifer water is setting the stage for massive risks to come. And, far too many people have not just inadequate but filthy water supplies. Sadly, far too many people’s drinking water is likely filthier than the waste water from many Americans’ homes.

Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.

There are harsh realities out there that too many of us remain ignorant of and of which our governing structures are taking inadequate action and attention: peak oil, global warming, peak freshwater, etc …

We are, collectively, headed toward a crash which will make us nostalgic for the 2008 financial implosion.

This does not have to be.

We are headed for a crash unless we begin to take these challenges seriously and begin to act to turn our path away from the massive disaster.
Just as with energy and climate change, the good news story is that opportunities exist for addressing our water challenges that will not just ameliorate the water issue but help solve other problems. Just as noted above, more efficient (less wasteful) water use translates directly to energy savings — e.g., financial value with a reduced climate change impact.  And, by addressing water challenges in the Developing World — for those with inadequate and dirty water supplies — we can reduce the burdens on the health systems and improve economic development.

Access to clean water is not just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue. An animal welfare issue. A sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, and it affects all of us.

Learn more about the water crisis.

Sign a petition supporting the United Nation’s goal of providing clean drinking water to everyone.

Tags: Energy · water

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 frflyer // Oct 17, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I live in California, which has water problems, which will only get worse with a warmer climate and smaller snow pack in the mountains.

    A Kiwi sailor friend of mine, who has cruised all over the world for the past 20 years, made a comment recently about water. He said he was amazed that Americans don’t have cisterns to catch rain water. In other parts of the world, they are everywhere. It struck me how unaware we are in this regard. A simple thing that could help a lot, and we don’t have the common sense to employ it.

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