Thursday, December 11, 2008

To Hell With Oil ... Where Is The Water?

Expect lots of droughts in the future.
At least 36 states expect to face water shortages within the next five years, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, several regions in particular have been hit hard: the Southeast, Southwest and the West. Texas, Georgia and South Carolina have suffered the worst droughts this year, the agency said.
This is obviously not a "Good Thing". With droughts come increases in food prices, which isn't something most people can handle right about now.

So, what can we do?
Water shortages don't have to remain a fact of modern life, drought experts say. Many offer the same solutions: Build better water delivery systems to accommodate population growth, develop more efficient uses of irrigation, and shift agriculture from the West to the East where it's easier and cheaper to water crops.
Infrastructure folks. More water storage capacity, both for on-farm and municipal use. I cannot stress the on-farm use enough either. I heard that costs in California for irrigation of a single acre in California is up from ~$30 last year to over $600 this year. If that report is true (if it was reported correctly AND I heard it correctly) that spells clusterf**k. Plus, it's about damn time we started working on inexpensive membrane technologies to desalinate sea water.

6 comments:

Epicanis ( http://www.bigroom.org/wordpress ) said...

In addition to the climate-change issues, one might also add "don't move to the middle of a desert and then act surprised when there's no water" (or demand that everyone else ship their water to you a la Los Angeles).

The gigantic populations and surprising amount of agriculture going on around the area of the country in or near the Mojave Desert alone is insane...

Marc Dolan said...

Obama says he wants to improve American infrastructure and do it for the long term. Roads, bridges and schools are fine but in addition here's a bold infrastructure project that you'll never hear suggested by the Harvard educated apparatchiks in Washington:

Begin negotiations with Mexico to dig a substantial tunnel from Arizona to the Mar de Cort├ęs (sometimes called the Gulf of California, which is the body of water between Baja, Mexico and Mexico proper). The distance from Ajo, Arizona to the Gulf of California is approximately 90 miles. An underground tunnel originating in Arizona and proceeding through that narrow and sparsely populated stretch of Mexican territory would provide the U.S. Southwest with access to seawater. Access to seawater for desalinization would open up much of the U.S. southwest to carefully controlled agriculture and it would greatly improve habitability for residents of the region.

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Thomas Joseph said...

Interesting comment Marc. Don't know how feasible it is or not. However, I imagine the issue would be rendered moot (at least partially) if we get some desalination technology as it would result in being able to remove California away from reliance on the Colorado River Basin (perhaps entirely).

Based on this, California uses about half of the water.

And Epicanis, I agree. Urban sprawl has happened with complete disregard for the environment, both in terms of how it's impacted, and what it can provide in terms of support for said sprawl.

Anonymous said...

Wake up people! Do you think man is big enough to cause droughts? Didn't this happen in the 30's and 40's in the OK area? Gee, we hear now that we have to reduce the number of cows so their farts will not cause the planet to burn and sizzle. Good God Almighty, burn all the green, peta people so we can live.

Anonymous said...

Merciful Heavens, people! Leave the Sea of Cortez alone! It is already threatened by the upstream dams, and is the home of one of the most vital marine ecosystems on the planet. It hosts not only native species (including Fin and Sperm Whales) but is the breeding and feeding grounds for a wide range of endangered species, including Humpback Whales, California Gray Whales, Killer Whales, Blue Whales, Manta Rays and Leatherback Sea Turtles. Water is a serious issue, but destroying the habitability of the oceans will cause more problems than it solves!

Thomas Joseph said...

Anonymous #1: Good God Almighty, burn all the green, peta people so we can live.

Brilliant. *roll eyes*

By the way, you don't think we should be environmentally conscientious? You don't think we should have appropriate infrastructure in place to mitigate any environmental factors we might face in the future?