It’s great to have her contribution today.
Across the planet more and more humans are experiencing water woes.
Water is the fabric of our existence, needed daily for people and animals to drink, to nourish agricultural and wild crops, to wet the land for the forests and wild places, to replenish lakes and oceans.
But volumes in reservoirs or aquifers are diminishing, rain is coming at the wrong time for crops. Weather patterns are being disrupted. Yet water is a renewable resource.
Every day more than a thousand cubic kilometres of water rains somewhere onto our planet. But not always where we want it to fall, and in some places too much falls and causes flooding and death. Water insecurity disrupts people's lives.
The world is drying up
There is talk of a national water grid to bring water from Wales to London.
In the USA, the Colorado River is greatly reduced. California has been in drought for years. Some aquifers are disappearing. The perils of the Rio Grande have been in the news for decades. The river disappears at times, otherwise is a small trickle as it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Water that existed underground for aeons is gone.
This is a global issue, the story repeated over and over as fresh water reserves are depleted and agriculture and domestic uses are threatened.
It's nothing new
Where did they go? A drought drove them away, and they abandoned the place.
It’s a delicious tale, if you like to chew on environmental mysteries. It would have been a hard decision, but bit by bit they trickled elsewhere, to find another welcoming bit of land, or to be assimilated into another settlement. Or to be enslaved, killed, or die enroute.
Ancient people sought ways to control, dam, reroute, and make water yield to their needs. Roman aqueducts carried water above the ground. In 1938, Musa Oqlah, in Syria, discovered an underground system of tunnels and wells on his property. Called a qanat, it was built by the Romans and is fed by a spring. It supplies water to his village of 20 households. Researchers have mapped around 250 qanats in Syria.
Farmers of any time period can tell you about rain coming at the wrong time. There are compelling tales from the Dustbowl years in North America. My Saskatchewan relatives are harvesting now and separate quarter sections have received different amounts of rain, yielded varying amounts of grain.
There're crazy schemes
Gadaffi spent millions of dollars trying to deliver this to the people to foster agriculture. He failed. Oops. Some things kind of fizzle.
Then there's just bad planning
The Kajaki hydroelectric dam in Afghanistan brings electricity to Kandahar. The reservoir was to link canals for irrigation. Alas, huge amounts of evaporation and poorly planned routes for the leaky canals took six times more water to irrigate a hectare than traditional systems. The dam, a drought, and the Taliban closing the sluice gates decimated downstream lakes and wetlands. Villages turned to dust bowls and people moved away. It became a humanitarian disaster zone.
Raw sewage is increasingly being used for irrigating crops. Fertile and moist, it does the trick. It may not be authorized by the governments of India, China, and Pakistan, but a blind eye is turned. Intestinal tolerance builds up. The supply is more reliable and cheaper than clean water.
Countries are looking for ways to dispose of and use raw sewage. In parts of Jordan, Israel, Mexico, and Tunisia they are treating sewage to remove pathogens and releasing it to farmers. Other places are investigating the use of sewage effluent for non-food crops.
People in India and elsewhere are looking at plans for the diversion of the Ganges floodwaters into a reservoir. Diversions work sometimes, and other times lead to greater difficulties. The point is to find ways to recycle, reclaim the water.
Nowadays, borders have carved up the land and available resources. Drought-stricken people can't easily gather their things and resettle in a better place. Heart-wrenchingly, there are long-standing refugee camps from political, environmental, and disaster zones. The world's population is now 7.3 billion, and we are increasingly living in cities, which certainly complicates delivering safe drinkable water, let alone water for agriculture. Water security is a global issue which requires a global response.
Unpredictability is in our cards. Intelligence, creativity, and foresight are needed for water management at the international, national, local, and individual levels. Each response must match the context of the problem. I have faith in human ingenuity.
Yes, there will be tragedies. But there will also be victories, because humans are the super-species on the planet. Humans create, engineer, develop. I just feel sorry for all the innocent animal and plant species we may lose, and cultures that may fall by the wayside.