The California Drought is Just the Beginning of Our National Water Emergency

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to read the article by Maude Barlow published 7/15/15 in The Nation, click on

http://www.thenation.com/article/the-california-drought-is-just-the-begi...

The California Drought Is Just the Beginning of Our National Water EmergencyFor years, Americans dismissed dire water shortages as a problem of the Global South. Now the crisis is coming home.

he United Nations reports that we have 15 years to avert a full-blown water crisis and that, by 2030, demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent. Five hundred renowned scientists brought together by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that our collective abuse of water has caused the earth to enter a “new geologic age,” a “planetary transformation” akin to the retreat of the glaciers more than 11,000 years ago. Already, they reported, a majority of the world’s population lives within a 30-mile radius of water sources that are badly stressed or running out.

For a long time, we in the Global North, especially North America and Europe, have seen the growing water crisis as an issue of the Global South...

The human right to water must become a reality everywhere. Likewise, water plunder must end: Governments need to stand up to the powerful industries, private interests, and bad practices destroying water all over the world. Water everywhere must be declared a public trust, to be protected and managed for the public good. This includes placing priorities on access to limited supplies, especially groundwater, and banning private industry from owning or controlling it. Water, in short, must be recognized as the common heritage of humanity and of future generations.

The global water crisis now unites us in a common struggle. Will its scarcity lead to conflict, violence, and war? Or it is possible that water will become a negotiating tool for cooperation and peace? Can it be nature’s gift to teach us how to better live with one another and tread more lightly on Mother Earth?

I surely hope so.

demandside's picture
demandside
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Comments

yawn...

We have plenty of water. Drinkable water is in shorter supply, but if we run low the price will go up, people will use less of it, and we'll reach a new equilibrium with new technology that will bring us slightly more expensive water. I guess if we have to spend a little more on water we'll just have to cut back a little on something else.

What you're proposing will result in shortages.

Maine's picture
Maine
Joined:
Jul. 8, 2015 3:26 pm

The western US is under an all out climate engineering assault, California most of all. The Weather Makers can shut the hydrological cycle off from the once “golden state” for as long as they wish. Satellite images and NOAA maps shown in this presentation are shocking and revealing to say the least. Whatever one wishes to consider as the agenda of those in power, one conclusion is certain, the drought in California is a direct result of the ongoing climate engineering insanity. Weather warfare is now being waged on the American population.
Dane Wigington
geoengineeringwatch.org

Engineered Drought Catastrophe, Target California (Live Presentation)

ABCee's picture
ABCee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

It don't help the vast amounts of water that go into heavily subsidized biofuel production. Mostly corn ethanol. Not even a practical source of energy, with ~ one unit of energy goes into ethanol production for every unit of energy that comes out. Absolute insanity.

In California, almost all increased water consumption is due to biofuel production. It takes 1700 gals of water to produce one gallon of California ethanol. An SUV getting 12 mpg on ethanol, would use 140 gallons of precious water for every mile it travels. Yet California politicians call ethanol green, renewable energy, and heavily subsidize it.

Desert solar power and fracking are also large users of water.

Instant-RunOff-...
Joined:
Jun. 17, 2015 11:41 am
Quote Maine regurgitates his predictable libertarian spew:

Drinkable water is in shorter supply, but if we run low the price will go up, people will use less of it, and we'll reach a new equilibrium with new technology that will bring us slightly more expensive water. I guess if we have to spend a little more on water we'll just have to cut back a little on something else.

What you're proposing will result in shortages.

Libertarian's speak in a deceptive code... in this case the market will provide plenty of water for those with money who are then free to waste it... and if the poor just can afford a wee bit... what amounts to price rationing, then as far as this market theory is concerned... there is no shortage. So there will still be real shortages but it becomes invisible with a poof of market "logic". Problem solved.

That being said... current water policy is somewhat nuts.

ulTRAX's picture
ulTRAX
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Instant-RunOff-Voting:n California, almost all increased water consumption is due to biofuel production.
Have a credible source?

ulTRAX's picture
ulTRAX
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

http://smarterfuelfuture.org/blog/details/wasting-water-on-ethanol-amid-...

http://smarterfuelfuture.org/blog/tag/37-california

http://smarterfuelfuture.org/blog/details/24-ethanol-realities

"...A joint study conducted by the Pacific Institute and University of California – Berkeley demonstrates that increased production of biofuels is almost entirely to blame for a four-fold increase in water demand in the state over the last two decades. In fact, it takes 1,700 gallons of water to produce just one gallon of the most ubiquitous biofuel, corn ethanol. That’s a lot of water.

In a time of extreme drought, wasting so much water to generate biofuels just doesn’t make sense. Nonetheless, policymakers in Washington demand it. Energy policy created at the federal level, specifically the Renewable Fuel Standard, demands that billions of gallons of biofuels like corn ethanol are produced each year with no regard for the enormous strain this puts on California's water resources...."

Some green that is:

"...13. Corn-based ethanol nearly doubles GHG emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. – Science Magazine.."

Instant-RunOff-...
Joined:
Jun. 17, 2015 11:41 am

Planting GMO corn for ethanol has never been a good idea.

MrsBJLee's picture
MrsBJLee
Joined:
Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

The reports on the report are a bit sensationalistic. They make it appear that the State itself is wasting water on the production of ethanol during a drought. If one actually reads the report you see that the dramatic increase in water consumption for the production of energy is due, in large part, to rainfall used to grow corn in other states.

"Our study shows that California’s EWF has substantially increased over recent decades without utilizing more of the state’s water resources, but rather relying more heavily on external sources of water. The increase in the EWF has been primarily associated with green water, i.e., precipitation that is used directly by biofuel crops in the field. While green water utilization may have added benefits in that it does not require pumping or associated infrastructure, it also links California’s energy future directly to future precipitation and soil management regimes in biofuel-growing regions."

mjolnir's picture
mjolnir
Joined:
Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am
Quote ulTRAX:
Quote Maine regurgitates his predictable libertarian spew:

Drinkable water is in shorter supply, but if we run low the price will go up, people will use less of it, and we'll reach a new equilibrium with new technology that will bring us slightly more expensive water. I guess if we have to spend a little more on water we'll just have to cut back a little on something else.

What you're proposing will result in shortages.

Libertarian's speak in a deceptive code... in this case the market will provide plenty of water for those with money who are then free to waste it... and if the poor just can afford a wee bit... what amounts to price rationing, then as far as this market theory is concerned... there is no shortage. So there will still be real shortages but it becomes invisible with a poof of market "logic". Problem solved.

That being said... current water policy is somewhat nuts.

Actually, most of California's water currently goes towards agriculture. You might add, the Calif. water shortage may cause a food crises. Outside of grains, it produces nearly 1/3 of the nation's food supply through irrigation. I suppose without California's production, we can all switch to a diet of gruel....Mid-west grains boiled in water.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

We'll not be resorting to gruel just yet. The types of produce normally produced by CA growers might increase in price, but there's little reason to suppose imports won't fill the shortfall. . additonally, areas in the south will quickly shift to vegtavble crops as prices make those more attractive than soy/corn/cotton. However, the strengthening El Nino should put an end to the CA drought this winter.

stwo's picture
stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Hi Poly. As stwo points out, if Cal. reverts back to its history of decades long drought that I, and others, have pointed out in previous threads capitalism will ensure that other States pick up the mantle.

It's unfortunate but true that the poor and working poor will be the ones who suffer from the temporary hiatus and the rising prices. People, like me, who live outside of cities in the middle of the country and know how to garden and forage will barely notice.

mjolnir's picture
mjolnir
Joined:
Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am

We are holding hope for this strengthening El Nino! It's sounds like we might have a very wet winter this year.

I wish we had better ways to capture the rain when it does arrive! I really hate it watching the water rise high in the LA River only to go out to the ocean when we should be trying to capture it and clean it up. I've been out here since 1978 and have always wondered why we just funneled the water out to the ocean.

MrsBJLee's picture
MrsBJLee
Joined:
Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

This is a fairly serious issue that goes far beyond California, as a reading of the title suggests, and as it is explored much further in the linked article.

The California Drought Is Just the Beginning of Our National Water Emergency: For years, Americans dismissed dire water shortages as a problem of the Global South. Now the crisis is coming home.

One overview snapshot comes from this paragraph:

Climate change is another equalizing phenomenon. Melting glaciers, warming watersheds, and chaotic weather patterns are upsetting the water cycle everywhere. Higher temperatures increase the amount of moisture that evaporates from land and water; a warmer atmosphere then releases more precipitation in areas already prone to flooding and less in areas prone to drought. Indeed, drought is intensifying in many parts of the world, and deserts are growing in more than 100 countries.

Additionally, the relentless over-extraction of groundwater and water from rivers has caused great damage in the Global South and is now doing the same in the North. A June 2015 NASA study found that 21 of the world’s 37 largest aquifers—in locations from India and China to the United States and France—have passed their sustainability tipping points, putting hundreds of millions at risk. Stunningly, more than half the rivers in China have disappeared since 1990. Asia’s Aral Sea and Africa’s Lake Chad—once the fourth- and sixth-largest lakes in the world, respectively—have all but dried up due to unremitting use for export-oriented crop irrigation.

Psychologists and sociologists have identified a condition they are calling "Normalcy Bias":

America Has Fallen Victim To The Normalcy Bias, Do You Suffer From Normalcy Bias?

Trying to warn people to be prepared because of a probable crisis can bring you grief and frustration because of the human condition called normalcy bias. Just as people in Pompeii watched for hours as the volcano erupted without evacuation, many people do not react until it is too late. Although you may try to warn others, the reality is some people will never take preventative action even when they are staring crisis in the face.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 6:50 am

Water? Who needs it, we still have champagne to drink!

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

THAT'S IT .ren !!!! People ARE victims to the Normalcy Bias! I just thought they were stuck in their own box never peering out into the world to see what is happening around their box. They're too busy playing with their toys in their box to care if someone is taking THEIR box out to the trash crusher.

I guess it's the same thing? It's like they're hypnotized when they start to see what's REALLY happening around them and they fall into a disbelief pattern or denial trance and get extremely angry sometimes when you try to wake them up out of that trance. Now it's a nationwide or maybe even global crisis!

MrsBJLee's picture
MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

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