close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

December 24, 2019

Looming crisis

Opinion

December 24, 2019

According to the World Economic Forum, the global water crisis is the fourth major threat of our civilization. In fact, studies warn that two-thirds of the global population could be living in water-stressed countries by 2025 — just a few short years away.

When we think about water scarcity, many Americans may immediately call to mind countries in Africa, the Middle East, or Asia. But Europe and North America are also facing unprecedented water shortage issues — and the United States stands out of the crowd.

One study published in 2019 in the journal ‘Earth’s Future’ highlights the fact that states like New Mexico, California, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska will have to make significant changes to counter severe upcoming water shortage problems.

The study also highlights some issues we all need to take into consideration — one of the most critical being the safety of US water.

One would think that the most powerful country in the world would enjoy clean tap water every day. Yet thanks to inequality and infrastructure decay, millions of Americans drink unsafe tap water from systems that violate health standards — in the same vein of the ongoing violations occurring in Flint, Michigan. Investigative journalists found that more than 30 cities botched water quality testing, following the same flawed procedures that led to criminal charges against government employees in Flint.

Ordinary Americans seem to realize this. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans worry a great deal about the pollution of drinking water, while 57 percent worry a great deal about pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.

There’s no use hiding it: America is going through a water crisis, and we’re going to face even more dire times if it doesn’t begin to change soon.

While the US is not yet among the world’s most at-risk countries in terms of water scarcity — certainly not comparable with the situation in Uganda, India, Pakistan, or Qatar for instance — people and authorities cannot ignore the facts anymore.

According to the Water Research Institute, New Mexico faces the most dire situation of any US state, with its water risk rating as “extremely high.” Its rankings put New Mexico on par with the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and Eritrea in Africa.

California, a state that has its fair share of water problems, comes next. The drought that began sweeping across the US in the 2010s is still causing huge problems, from California on up to southeast Alaska’s rainforest.

What is even more concerning is that US groundwater is facing depletion, with industries and people digging ever deeper for water that used to come easy.

Water shortages occur when the demand outpaces the supply. According to the ‘Earth’s Future’ study mentioned above, the US population could grow to over 500 million people by 2100. Naturally, population growth is a predictor of water demand growth.

Excerpted from: ‘The Looming U.S. Water Crisis’. Commondreams.org