We are water people.
We don’t just think about water: we ARE water.
So a planet that has too little water is.. incomprehensible.
It’s hard to imagine there ever being a shortage of water on this planet, considering that the Earth’s surface is 71% covered with water…
…and yet, here we are.
Obviously most of that water is not drinkable in its current form.
I’m talking specifically about a shortage of fresh, drinkable water that human beings all need to survive…and it could be coming around the corner sooner than we think.
There will always be water on planet Earth. But potable and clean water—and having it available where and when people need it (for drinking, cooking, cleaning, etc.)—is a whole different matter.
Some sources say that if we don’t change our ways, we could see the entire world running out of fresh water by the year 2040.
That’s only 17 years away.
What is causing all this? How exactly is this “shortage” happening?
Well, with lack of yearly rainfall on the rise, drought conditions are getting longer and more severe…
…so aquifers (underground freshwater sources for wells, etc.) are not getting refilled as they always have.
It’s happening especially in dry, arid, and desert-like climates, where having access to fresh water can sometimes be a matter of life or death.
The other big contributor: big agriculture and other corporate interests (but mostly big agriculture).
An article by the BBC sugests that many experts foresee water becoming a privatized and even monetized commodity, with big agriculture and corporate interests taking priority access to it…
…and that it’s possible there could even be wars over water access, especially in arid parts of the world like the Middle East (according to the BBC, some wars in Syria may have already been started by water access).
The water shortage isn’t just something to worry about in developing countries.
And yet countries considered highly developed—including America—face some of the biggest and most drastic water shortage challenges of all.
One example of many: ProPublica says an impending shortage of water from the Colorado River is poised to affect the entire United States and not just the Southwest.
How do we react to this news at a personal level?
Obviously we can do what we’ve always done when confronted with drought restrictions – reduce garden water use, carwashing, shower times.. we’ve all been there!
But it’s hard to deny that our personal water-saving efforts may have very little overall effect on changes that appear to us to be resulting from climate change.
The real source threatening our access to fresh water truly is big agriculture and the way we produce our food and commodities!
The best way to get involved on this level: put your dollar where it counts and support small and local agriculture where you can.
But also: get involved on a civic level to support organizations and efforts that promote clean water action, especially efforts that encourage big farmers and agriculture to use their irrigation resources more wisely.
Why do it? Because water is life.