Saturday, May 8, 2010

Citizen's voice: Our water supply crucial for future

Lance Miller in Knox News, Citizen’s Voice (Tennessee): ...As East Tennessee emerges from one of the most dreary winters in recent memory, the spring rains remind me of these lines of poetry from my childhood. Given the amount of rain we have been receiving, it is tempting to believe that our water supply is abundant and endlessly renewable. It is also tempting to believe that seasonal droughts like the one our neighbors to the south in the Atlanta area have recently experienced are merely regional problems that will resolve with time.

Not so, explained activist Maude Barlow at a recent colloquium series on global water supplies and water politics sponsored by the Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee.

Barlow is a best-selling author and has won several educational awards and honorary degrees. During her presentation at the Baker Center she warned of an impending global clean water supply shortage crisis that threatens economies, public health and the stability of nations worldwide. To illustrate the problem, she explained that if the Earth's total water supply was represented by a gallon, then the total freshwater supply available for drinking represents but half a teaspoon. Moreover, the rate at which we are depleting our water supply through consumption, exporting, agricultural and industrial use is simply unsustainable.

As water shortages reach crisis levels, they can contribute to civil unrest and exacerbate the public health problems caused by poverty. This could ultimately lead to regional conflicts over water supplies and geopolitical shifts. All of these conditions create fertile breeding grounds for terrorist ideologies and recruitment. That's right - water is a national security issue, too…

An old water tower in Brodnicka, Podgorne, Poland, shot by Arctgx, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

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