I spent about 25 years in California, in Southern California. And one of the issues that always seem to come up was water. Southern California depends largely on the flow of water from the middle of the state to the southern section of the state. They use an aqueduct system that allows a large amount water to flow south making the water available to both agriculture and city populations. California developed a series of lakes by damming up the mountainous areas. These lakes were deep and even when I lived in California the level of the lake would drop 200 feet during the summer. One of my concerns about water was that the aqueduct system was out in the open at any disruption of service would cause panic in the state. There had always been the argument among the agricultural community and the cities as to their rights to water. The Los Angeles Public Works purchased much of the property well north of the city to be able to feed the city of Los Angeles with water. In northern California the county of Santa Clarita, Silicon Valley, has reached a point that they are going to cut about 40% of the water being supplied to the cities. Water was then and is now a necessity to life. And I believe what people would do to get water has no limits. Even here in Texas there is a big movement among the counties to find ways to guarantee their right to get the water.
I believe that if there is no change in an amount of rain and snow that provides the water we drink and use every day, water will become a commodity. Who would’ve ever thought 15 years ago that bottled water would become a growth industry? We have gone from expecting water to flow freely from the tap to spinning several dollars for a bottle for water. If a terrorist organization really wanted to show how to make a city panic, they should attack the water supply. I know this was a theme in a Batman movie, but it is very possible risk. Back in 1992 I was working for the LAPD when the city of Los Angeles began to riot. Initially it was about society and its shortcomings as to the quality of the citizens Los Angeles. But it didn’t take long after the riots started that people realize they could not get any groceries or gas. I watch thousands of people break through the outer wall of a grocery store to ransack it, not for its money, but for its food so they could survive. The issue quickly went from a social issue to a need to survive. After three days of rioting I think the populations realize they were only hurting themselves and stopped. This brings me to what could happen if the water flow was interrupted or greatly reduced. Unlike the 1992 riot that had somewhat of a confined area, the rioting from the lack of water would hit all communities.
It seems strange that water should be such an issue when the coast of California touches one of the biggest bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean. I know that in the last 25 years there has been an effort to convert the salt water into drinking water. But during that time it seemed like just a symbolic gesture on the part of the government. While fighting the memory of the 1970s gas shortage, our government and private business have done a good job of trying to find and develop alternative sources for power. Water conversion stations do not appear overnight and it literally takes years to get one built and operational. I think it is time that our state and federal governments concentrate on the conversion of salt water to freshwater. Whether it is climate change or the large increase in population, water is an issue that will not go away. Maybe it will take years before Earth goes into another Ice Age which then freezes up a good portion of its land only to warm again and supply the earth with needed water. This takes thousands of years to happen. Now’s the time for man and woman to seriously work on increasing ways of supplying water. I can see water being used to barter services, or even become used like money or gold. I do not believe that China or India will ever get a hand on their population growth. Just looking at how far China is behind on his social issues and its use of natural resources makes me worry more about the future. The small water sources such as lakes and rivers are drying up. Even the mighty Mississippi is having problems because of the lack of water in it. As stated on a national television news broadcast, even if it rained every other day of until May of next year California would not be back to having all the lakes full and water plentiful. I know that they will drill wells deeper and bigger. But I believe that a drilled water source has its limitations. The lack of water affects a lot of businesses who rely on the presence of water in our lakes, rivers. The Mississippi River has a lot of commerce traveling on the river. But the ability to keep the barges running has diminished and even stopped some of the flow. The price for water goes up so does the price of your groceries. And the way that you get your water, like in plastic bottles, only produces more litter and trash. I have read while warming continues the oceans will get bigger and the tides higher. The water producing industry is in for incredible growth and profit. But this will come at a cost to all Americans as well as the rest of the earth. The industrial companies who use water to cool the engines that help them produce their product; will eventually be a target of hate among the people who cannot get the water.
This brings me back to my opening statement about rain and water. My attitude towards the rain has drastically changed in my life. As a child the rain meant I couldn’t go outside and play baseball. As a young adult driving the freeways in LA to work every day, I knew the rain meant heavy delays. But now I welcome the rain and really hope that this next year will be a wet one. I feel pretty helpless as to what I can do to help the situation. I do not have a sprinkler system that waters the lawn or swimming pool to indulge in a surplus of water. No matter how I cut down my individual use water, I believe the problem is still going to grow. The federal and state governments along with private industry must turn its attention to the production of clean water and both the city and the country. My thought is take what technology we know how to use now and immediately start building those facilities along the East coast, West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. I know that there will have to be a system to deliver that water to all the United States. So instead of digging out pipelines for the use of moving oil, use the pipelines (new or old) to move water. I know the science is there to make this happen. Until then I will just enjoy the rain. I will drink the water, in my coffee, I will bathe in the water to make me clean and I will enjoy the water for creation purposes. I truly don’t know what else to do.