Water shortages

Water Water – Where? Where?

This is about coming water shortages that will be very severe. The ramifications are serious. They say, “you can only live three days without water.”

“Big deal,” you respond. “I’ve got plenty. And if there’s enough to supply thousands of cities today, which means billions of people, why on earth are you beating the water bucket?”

The answer is simple.

Because the water bucket is half empty.

Although we live on a planet that is two-thirds covered in salt water, we have never bothered to explore the possibility of desalination in order to keep up with the fresh water demand.

Instead, we rely on rain and subsequently stored water, in the form of rivers lakes and aquifers, to supply our needs.

But those sources are running out. And there’s solid evidence to show it.

We live in a supply and demand situation when it comes to fresh water, and the clear evidence is that increasing demand is outstripping a diminishing supply.

As with oil, we use this resource with no regard for where it comes from, or the fact that every sip we take, every drop we spill, every bottle we drink, and every coffee we consume reduces the supply.

More importantly, we take no account of the fact that weather changes are doing the same, but on a vast scale.

When it comes to oil and gas, though there may appear to be vast reserves of untapped raw materials, there is simply no way that what we have consumed so far will ever be replenished. And what’s left will eventually run out, much sooner than we think.

Imagine yourself as a scuba diver on a sunken vessel and you’re just having a good time exploring. You have a tank of air strapped to your back. Then without warning you get so thoroughly caught in some cables that there’s no way to extricate yourself. Every breath you take depletes what air you have left. And when it finally runs out, you die.

Canada and US oil pipelines
Canada and US oil pipelines

Despite the obvious lesson contained in that metaphor, we thoughtlessly continue to demand oil and gas and the corporations involved in all aspects of their production are more than happy to continue spending millions to make billions in profit.

“There are 5.9 million km of natural gas pipelines in the world, and more are planned to be constructed within the next five years…, Globally, at this time there are 397,537 km of new pipelines in various stages of development and construction.


“The US has far more oil and natural gas pipelines than any other nation in the world. It is estimated to have in its network, approximately 2,313,432 km of gas pipelines.” (source)

Interestingly, the blog responsible for this image at left has been suspended by WordPress “for a violation of our terms of service.”

gaslinesBut no-one is moving to suspend fracking operations in the search to extract more oil and gas, despite the fact that such technology creates earthquakes, but, more importantly, has a devastating effect on underground water supplies.


Hydraulic Fracturing & Water Stress

crsa“In the map at left one can see that almost half (47 percent) of shale gas and oil wells are being developed in regions with high to extremely high water stress. This means that more than 80 percent of the annual available water is being withdrawn by municipal, industrial and agricultural users in these regions. Overall, 75 percent of wells are located in regions with medium or higher baseline water stress levels.”

Stealing What’s Left

Because they’re inordinately good at turning a silk purse into a sow’s ear, most local, state, federal and national governments are in debt way over their own porcine ears.

On the other hand, the corporations that help them get into office do remarkably well – as long as they can convince their politician friends, and through them an ignorant public, that whatever the corporations do will create jobs and be good for the economy.

Privatization rules. And natural resources including water – especially in terms of foreseeable water shortages – are for them a money-making (dare we say it?) waterfall.

That’s why some states have ruled that you can’t collect rain water.

And that’s why there’s a big plan afoot to drain the Great Lakes and pipe the water as far as Texas.

As The Canadian reports, “Through the so-called North American Free Trade Agreement and “Common Security”, Archon operatives in Canada and the U.S. seek to bleed Canada dry of its water.” Jesse Ventura also has a documentary series about stealing the world’s water on YouTube here.

However, there’s much more to this water shortage situation than even Ventura can cover (and the mainstream media certainly won’t). Much more, in the sense that once you understand the big picture, and how serious the situation is becoming, there is something you can do about it.

But first, more of the evidence.

Cities Recycle Sewage

Of the zillions of gallons of water delivered daily to people around the world, a huge percentage is used for waste collection (toilets, kitchen garbage disposal units, showers, baths, laundry etc) and therefore creates an ongoing disposal problem.

It would be fair to say that in the western world, water for waste purposes far outweighs what is used for personal consumption. That presents some huge problems, not just for people, but the planet itself.

The answer, in many cases, has been treatment and recycling; separating the solids from the liquids and re-using them in various ways, while also dumping vast quantities into rivers and oceans regardless of the fact that every gallon or every liter adds to the massive ocean dead zones.

Cities such as Austin, Texas, turn their solids into treated “Dillo Dirt” – compost which becomes the foundation for city parks and grass. But no matter how much you try, you can’t hide the stink of human feces, as they discovered at the 2009 Austin City Limits music festival.

Spreading Biosolids - Or "when TSHTF."
Spreading Biosolids – Or “when TSHTF.”

Biosolids as they’re called are produced under “strict regulations” governing how much (or how little) they can contain in the form of metals, pathogens and where they can be used. That said, with this sludge being widely used for parks and for agricultural purposes, there seems to have been no consideration for the fact that when it rains, there simply must be some transport of what’s remaining in the sludge into aquifers, streams and rivers. What does that do to human health?

Granted, treatment has done much to reduce what was once direct disposal of untreated waste water (sewage) into rivers and oceans – but has that really done more than simply sweep the problem under the rug?

Waste water disposal is one thing. Fresh water resources from which to gather and deliver this life- sustaining liquid is another. The term “high water stress” is used to describe states and cities where “more than 80 per cent of available water is already being used.”

Spreading Biosolids – Or “when TSHTF.”

Currently, Colorado and Texas are the most water-strapped states in America. But while severe drought has been wide-spread in recent years – and guaranteed to continue and get worse through 2013 – where the initial impact has been felt in the agriculture sector (crop and stock losses), followed by corporate profits falling dramatically, followed by rising food prices, it is logical, and disturbing, to expect an even worse scenario – a reduction in available water resources to the point that rationing becomes a reality. And then the water runs out. Completely.

Fracking (in detail here), using water and chemicals, not only depletes what’s available in the way of water for human consumption, it is also known to create earthquakes as well as polluting domestic water supplies with methane gas. (So don’t catch fire in the shower).

Nevertheless, while there are literally thousands of fracking operations going on around the world, that number is minuscule compared to the impact of droughts.

Global Drought Monitor Map May 7 2013

Global Drought Monitor Map May 7 2013
Global Drought Monitor Map May 8 2013

On the surface, droughts breed food shortages, famine and starvation.

To a sleeping American public, those are impossible possibilities.

But as can be seen very clearly in the Global Drought Monitor map at left, the area of drought in the United States is at least half of if not equal to the rest of the world combined.

What’s critical about this, apart from the potential (even in the blinkered United States) for even more widespread food shortages, famine and starvation, is that the water resources that humans rely on are literally drying up.

If we apply reason to all this information, including what we know about increasing earthquakes, we should logically be prepared to see a potential future in which water is simply not available, at least not as frequently or in as much quantity as we are currently accustomed to.

Be it because an earthquake fractures a dam or severs delivery pipelines to your city or your house, or because the aquifers become so depleted that water rationing is mandatory, we are without doubt looking at a water-shortage future.

At present, we think little of the fact that we occasionally get restrictions on watering our lawns. But when it happens, that in itself should alert us to the fact that our local dams and incoming water sources are approaching critically low levels.

Take that thought a step further, and we can see ourselves next on the list to be rationed to just a few gallons of water a day…or every other day….or every week…or until the water runs out.

But let’s not leave the subject on a downer note.
A problem seen in advance, can be a problem solved in advance.

The ideal solution would be a place in the country with a well and a back-up system of above-ground storage (just in case an earthquake or permanent power outage stops the well producing). Add to that rainwater harvesting for garden and toilet use.

Rainwater collection should be considered wherever you own or rent a house, with filtration for personal consumption and cooking.

Water storage can be done in potable water barrels of many sizes, up to indoor (basement or garage) or outdoor above-ground or buried tanks in which you can store city water that’s already treated. (Add some oxygen to it, and it’ll stay fresh for the longest time).

While official outfits like FEMA recommend a gallon per day per person,
that is no more than an absolute minimum….and how many days should you
be thinking about, now that you know what is happening to where the water really comes from? With most of it now falling over the oceans or in uninhabited places, what is going to be available for us over the next few years?

And do you really expect a power outage to last only a few hours – or an earthquake to see you being looked after by a FEMA water truck within 72 hours? Don’t hold your breath (pun intended).

Instead, stay focused on this thought:– three minutes without oxygen…three days without water…. and you’ll be on the road to doing something about reassessing life’s real priorities. 

[box type=”bio”]
michael knight 2Michael Knight is an independent writer who began an international career in all media in 1960. He now owns The Portland Preparedness Center in Portland Oregon. twitter: @JournoMichael

Creative Commons License
This work by Michael Knight is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.[/box]

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7 years ago

Great article. I try to remind people when they complain about the rain or say how much they love how it’s sunny in early May that we’re on track for a drought this summer. But they don’t listen. Unfortunately as humans we’re going to take from this earth until we have a massive die off, then maybe we’ll go back to a sustainable way of living where we actually give back to the earth instead of just take.

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