Water, water, everywhere…

That was to be the title of my next book. But researching that particular subject turned out to be an incredibly difficult task. Not that there wasn’t any information available. No, quite the contrary. There was too much. Thanks to a wonderful tool called Google Alerts, I was updated on water news daily. And there was a lot of it. Truth be told – there was too much for me to disseminate. Unlike water, there is no shortage of information about the future of water. Hell, if information was water, we’d all be drowning in the stuff. So unhappily, I put that subject back on the shelf for now. But that does not mean I’ve given up on learning about it. At the same time, I do not want to play the role of a Cassandra either, but this is a serious subject.

As I wrote in my last blog post, I was going to spend some time writing about our planet’s limited resources. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, this one is about water. Globally, we are reaching some tipping points in regards to many of our resources. For the past few decades, much has been written and said about oil and rightfully so. Unless the theory of abiotic oil is correct, and few believe this to be the case, then we are most likely running out of oil. There is no corresponding abiotic theory on water though. It has taken years for people to discover that water is becoming an increasingly more valuable commodity. It is only now that it is beginning to take center stage on the world as a limited resource.

The most obvious, visible impact on water’s availability is drought. Most people can identify with that even if they’ve never experienced it first hand. But beyond failing crops and people going without water, and these are not to be minimized, not much other thought has generally been given to water.

However in the coming years, we can expect to see water politicized as never before, both here and abroad. Water rights are becoming an election issue and a states rights issue. Wars will be fought over water much as they are now over oil. It will become a geopolitical tool used selfishly and perhaps maliciously. Who will become the Saudi Arabia of water? Where will the new speculators come from?… and you know they will be there. There are a lot of questions and not many answers yet.

As we should have learned during the first oil crisis in the early 1970’s, we could not continue to use that particular resource profligately, still we did. The same is equally true of water. Using water to keep golf courses green in the desert flies in the face of good stewardship. In New Mexico, a dusty, dirty car is the sign of someone monitoring their water use carefully. There are not many green lawns there nor should there be. They are coming to grips with it before most of us are because they have to.

There are of course numerous ways for the individual to do their part to help keep consumption down and it is necessary. I am not minimizing that at all either. But, we are facing a new time in history where once again, many may be at the mercy of those who control a resource that they, like so many others, need and are willing to fight for it. Such is the situation when a resource is limited or running out and others play games with it. And that is what the future regarding water will look like. Our politicians need to become aware of this and start preparing. After all, there is nothing wrong with a dusty car and a brown desert.

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