Water, Water Everywhere But Not a Drop to Drink
Two great crises face the world: shortages of energy and water. The world's population is heading towards seven billion. It is expected to continue increasing to nearly nine billion people. In order to sustain and enhance life for this many people, it is absolutely necessary that industrialization expand around the world. As industrialization expands, the need for energy also expands, as does the need for safe fresh water. Ironic that a planet with many times more surface water than land mass should now be desperate for usable water!
One fifth of the world's surface freshwater lies in the Great Lakes. That says much about how the rest of the world lacks for lakes. Almost all of the streams and rivers on earth are now compromised, needing more and more treatment to be safe (an example of how energy and water use are linked). Drought, flooding from climate change, pollution from wastewater, and overuse are also wrecking havoc with most rivers, both here and abroad.
Wells are increasingly threatened by groundwater pollution, unless they are deep aquifers - too far below the surface to be contaminated. Unfortunately, however, Deep aquifers cannot replenish - precisely because they are so deep. When pumped for irrigation, drinking water and industrial uses, they are depleted.
New technologies and strategies that go beyond conservation are needed for energy production. Likewise, the response to water needs must go beyond conservation. New technologies for treating seawater, better use of irrigation, alternatives to water use in producing and packaging food and in the production of energy and in industrial processes are needed RIGHT NOW.
Our nation and world would do well to work together at these challenges.
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Dr. Losoncy, Ph.D., is the CEO of Clean Up America, Inc., a company that markets waterless sanitation systems, including the South African Enviroloo. He writes about environmental and business management issues and does training and consulting. He is also a mental health professional, licensed as a marriage/family therapist. He brings communication and psychological perspectives to bear on business practices.