If your Merry Christmas is truly going to become a Happy New Year, you the public must force policymakers in 2017 to make the world’s water supply the top priority, including in the United States.
Gloomy global water projections, as well as stories of growing problems in specific areas, point to the urgent need for this. These reports have not lessened through 2016. They’ve become more numerous.
These include a National Geographic report of dwindling groundwater threatening global food shock; a World Bank study on climate change’s negative effect on water and the global economy; and a panel of experts – including from NASA – who foresee climate change altering Asia’s great river systems that feed 1.5 billion people.
In the United States alone, struggles expand. A new Reuters investigation has found thousands of U.S. locations with lead levels even higher than Flint’s. The Associated Press predicts growing tensions in California over how much water will go to agriculture, fish, or humans as a new federal law tries to counter the six-year drought. New Jersey is caught in a drought with a “missing water plan”. And last week in California, the city of Clovis won a $22 million court judgment against Shell Oil over toxic drinking water.
Endless wars harm water supplies
Also, America-involved endless wars see water supplies under continued threat in battle-torn areas. For example, toxic waste is leeching into Yemen’s capital city’s water supply as constant U.S.-supported bombing pummels infrastructure; and Syria’s capital Damascus cut its water supply after rebels reportedly polluted it with diesel fuel.
Meanwhile, China continues to struggle with major pollution problems while increasing efforts to solve them. Last week, UK’s The Guardian newspaper reported how Shanghai’s water supply was pelted with 100 tons of garbage.
The Globe, Solutions…and the Trump Problem
There are glints of efforts at solutions.
Forest Trends Association, an organization of forest-industry leaders, donors, and environmental groups, reported from Washington, D.C. on Dec. 16:
It’s been a banner year for green infrastructure, from the roll-out of the Paris climate deal to Peru’s groundbreaking new water security strategy to California’s recent legislation recognizing nature as a critical part of its water infrastructure.
In 2015, governments, water utilities, companies, and communities spent nearly $25 billion on payments for green infrastructure for water. More than 400 programs in 62 countries invested in the natural ability of forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other ecosystems to ensure clean, reliable water supplies for cities and communities, and to combat threats from rapid urban expansion and agricultural pollution.
On Dec. 18, the Financial Express in India reported that 115 Indian cities have launched water supply and sewerage projects under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT):
The AMRUT scheme was launched by PM Narendra Modi last year with the focus mainly on the urban renewal projects and to establish infrastructure so as to ensure adequate robust sewerage networks and water supply for urban India thereby fostering transformation.
Meanwhile, last Tuesday, President Obama placed “a permanent ban on offshore drilling in broad parts of the Arctic and Atlantic coasts”, according to the Los Angeles Times:
The ban relies on the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, which says the president “may, from time to time, withdraw” federal waters from oil and gas development that are not already leased. It was announced as part of a joint action with Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made long-term, though not permanent, commitments to protect the Arctic from drilling.
Such a move by Obama might help secure ocean waters for both fishing and expanded efforts of desalination to supply fresh water to mainlands. But there’s a problem:
The president-elect has made clear his opposition to global efforts of quelling climate change, especially through recent actions of filling his proposed cabinet with execs who are pro-oil, pro-Wall Street, and pro-privatization of public assets.
Can’t you see the Money-Dealmaker immediately overturning Obama’s permanent offshore drilling ban to please the head of Exxon, his pick for Secretary of State? And opposing any U.S. efforts to help other countries in environmental matters…unless they work out a secret-or-not financial deal for his connections?
So don’t look for the Billionaire President or Millionaire Congress (Republicans and Democrats) to readily or consistently aid the nation’s and world’s water-supply problems. You’re going to have to get organized (you can’t do it alone), get educated to issues, and get active if you’re going to assure a vital water supply for you, your children, and your grandchildren.