Water was taken for granted in the United States for years! It was only a problem in third world countries. This has been the hottest summer on record in California. It is adding to an already difficult drought condition that will not go away anytime soon. If you live in the Midwest or East coast, you probably experienced flood conditions. This weather/climate change will affect the cost of food very soon!
This crisis is no less important than the oil crisis of a number of years ago. Some of you may still feel there is still an oil crisis. If we do not figure out how to solve this problem it will affect food costs just like the cost of oil does. California agriculture produces ten (10) percent of all the food the country eats. It does not stop there! The floods are just as devastating as the drought. Our agriculture is endangered and we could be dependent on imports to satisfy our food needs.
Normally, we export much more food than we import. Our imports are approximately 15% of food consumed in the United States. Water or lack of it will affect not only our crops, but our animals too. The animals we consume in terms of food. We will be giving bottled water to our animals just to sustain them in this drought. In the areas of floods, clean water may be the issue. Water is already a commodity, but we had plenty of it. We need to produce more, transport it where it is needed and store it.
In some ways, water is like oil. When the price increases, you can justify exploration. One solution may be desalination plants. Ocean water is similar to oil and all you have to do is make it potable! After all ocean levels are increasing thanks to global warming. What will happen if we have to use desalination on a large scale regarding ocean levels? Desalination is expensive and food cost will increase anyway. Is there another solution to the drought?
Can we use less water? Can we transport water? Water rates went up twice this summer in California and it will continue unless we get rain and add to the Sierra snow cap every winter. This is where California gets their water! Rationing is a short term solution, but it may be necessary. Look at all the things we drink that contain water as a base. Soft drinks use water to mix with other ingredients! Recycling water is going to become more important than MPG in cars.
Recently, I read about a radio station giving prizes for the dirtiest cars. It was sponsored by a water company in Ventura County, California. It was supposed to be an incentive for conserving water. Can you imagine a dirty car will be the new status symbol? Utility companies will have water police to conserve water! I think they already do! Three quarters of the country probably thinks it does not affect them. Too much water or flood conditions can ruin crops too. It is everybody’s problem!
Conservation is now mainstream and critical to survival! Government can control water by rationing and even create incentives for exploration, but is that enough? We all need to conserve, but is that enough? California is trying to shift our water resources to agriculture and asks residents to cut their demand for water. The next step is to stop development and restrict the number of people who want to move to this state. It will not stop there! It could affect the entire country. It may affect all business growth!
Oil affects us in a similar way, but we are now producing more oil, gas and energy. Not too long ago, we were discussing oil pipelines to move oil from Canada across the United States. Soon, we will be talking about water pipelines to move water from states that get too much rain to states that experience drought or high temperatures. If we do nothing, we will increase importing of food and perhaps water! What can we do today? You can start conserving water or changing how we use water today!
If you think the California drought is someone else’s problem, you are in trouble. Stop wasting water today! You can do something no matter where you live. For years, California get their water from the snow that occurs every year in the Sierras and the Colorado River. Without rain/snow, residents will have to reduce their usage or pay more for their water. The problem is paying more does not solve the supply issue. We need more water and we need to reduce water usage. Water is a finite commodity!
Photo by: Flickr