Water Woes


1. Nor any drop to drink

2. A global shortage

3. Bright signs

4. Supply and demand

5.Global warming


The California Aqueduct is part of the federal Central Valley Project, serving millions of urban, rural, environmental and agricultural users throughout the Golden State. As seen from Interstate 5, vineyards are in the foreground and the Great Central Valley in the background.
Courtesy California Department of Water Resources








cartoon "drop" guy points out that: Around the world, aquifers (and some lakes) are shrinking due to excessive pumping.

    Where's the water?
POSTED 26 APR 2001
The canal snakes through the picture, with a bridge in the center. Vineyard is dotted with grapevines.Water. If you've got it, you probably take it for granted. But a quick scan of the globe -- and a chat with the tiny group of researchers who are obsessed by fresh water -- both indicate that water shortages are looming.

And they aren't necessarily in the future, either. Here's what we've read in the past week or so.

... Mexico City (home to 20 million people) is sinking because the city sucks out underground water faster than the aquifer can be refilled.

... Florida wants to refill its overpumped aquifer with untreated surface water, despite federal regulations to the contrary.

1973 photos shows two lobes of the lake, with water in both. In 1987 photo, one lobe is gone, and a puddle remains in the other lobe.Lake Chad, at the intersection of Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon in West Africa, is disappearing. Shown: 1973 photo. Place mouse over picture to see a 1987 photo. The lake supplied water for massive irrigation projects, but the shrinkage also reflects a big drop in rain since the early 1960's.
Courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

... Texas is moving toward private, for-profit water sales. The water will be "mined" from aquifers that are disappearing fast. No word on what the private suppliers, including corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, will do once the aquifers run dry.

... Aquifers around the world are being overtapped for irrigated agriculture, which fills about 40 percent of the global larder.

... The Bush Administration has withdrawn a proposed tightening of the arsenic standard for drinking water. Critics say the old rule, dating to 1942, could allow thousands of cases of cancer and other diseases. Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, what's been called the "largest poisoning of a population in history" has 35 to 77 million people drinking arsenic-laced water.

... A showdown is looming over the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which originate in Turkey, then water both Syria and Iraq. If Turkey goes ahead with a series of dams, the downriver nations could starve.

You don't miss your water, an old blues sage wisely said, 'til your well runs dry. Down here on planet Earth, the well is starting to run dry. We've seen projections that three billion people -- half of today's population -- will be short of water in 2025.

Yipes! How bad is it?



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