Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Clean Water Crisis

We cannot survive without water and yet we treat it as if endowed with endless supplies. We dump chemicals and waste into rivers and lakes that foul the seas and oceans.

Not long ago an acquaintance told me that when he visited relatives in Arkansas he was warned about fishing in a local lake because of all the mercury pollution. “I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I remember fishing there when I was a boy and now it’s ruined.” But his story is not isolated and neither is the fact that the availability of clean water is becoming increasingly threatened. United States federal intelligence websites warn of future wars waged over water, and that the outcome of increasing water pollution threatens the existence of both nations and cultures.

I live in a region that has long known the realities of limited water supplies. Even so it seems the land has been settled by two very different sorts of people: Those who understand the need to conserve water and those who see nothing beyond their immediate desires to grow economically. Already, the nearby Rio Grande separating the United States and Mexico is a polluted dump. State officials have warned about the ill effects of any direct contact with the water—the same water from which several million residents on both sides of the river sate their thirst and use in their daily lives. In fact, every year the river becomes filthier and more chemicals are needed to “purify” the water it provides.

It would seem the juxtaposition of two divergent ideologies has caused a schism both in the quality of our lives and for the future of those who will inherit the effects of our greed.  

Last week I read about radon pollution in Houston, Texas groundwater supplies. One scientist was quoted as saying that showering in radon contaminated water causes the inhalation of dangerous particles into the lungs.

Here’s a web address to a journal article written by that same scientist about radon contamination in Texas groundwater. Those of you who live outside the state of Texas have other water problems to deal with. But with concerted and like-minded goals we can work together to thwart the greed of others and begin to regain our clean water supplies.

Here’s another web address for those interested in creating water collection systems at their homestead. This might come in handy if you intend to live in a remote area.


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