"The time for action is now. We have the water resources. We just need to make sure the right amounts of water get to the right areas. That is, before our water resources are no longer resources."
Life is good right now in the heartland. The price of gasoline going into summer is about $2.25. A bit higher than earlier in the year, but not bad compared to previous years. Plus, the past two years we had a perfect amount of rainfall, which let to back to back bumper crops. And this year is starting out to be similar. Just this week, we had somewhere between 3 and 4 inches of rain, with another inch forecast on Saturday. So what could possibly be the problem right now?
Rain. Water. Fresh water. Potable water. Oh yes, I have addressed these issues many times before. I am not a soothsayer, but I will make this dire prediction. Fresh, potable water will soon be the next gold in this country if we don't address our water crisis soon. "Wait a minute Bird! What crisis? You just said this has been a very wet week in your neck of the woods."
Yes it has. Here are some facts according to the USGS. On a 1/2 acre lot, receiving an inch of rain, how much water do you think that is? 13,577 gallons of water. Not just water, but fresh water. And potable to boot. Now I live on 4 acres, and let's say we only received 3 inches this week. That means my lot alone received over 160,000 gallons (that be about 700 tons) of water. Most soaked into an already saturated ground, and the rest was runoff.
"Okay Bird, so you have enough water from this week to last the rest of the year, what is the problem?" The problem is this. Some parts of the country are getting so much water due to heavy rainfall, it is going into the rivers and streams and resulting in runoff. From the rivers and streams it goes into the ocean, and then is no longer fresh nor potable. Meanwhile some areas of the country (the southeast this year), are dry as a bone. Last year it was the southwest. In the year 2017, we still have not been able to figure this problem out.
One more fact. We had a huge rainstorm which covered a good part of the state a few years back. The rainfall was estimated to be in the trillions of gallons. Lots of flooding, and lots of runoff. Meanwhile, the western United States was dry.
To create water from the ocean is "can do" right now. We can do it, but it is expensive, and time consuming. However, the end is fresh water. It needs to go through another process to become potable. The rainfall we are getting right now in certain parts of the country is both fresh and potable.
We need to be able to get fresh (and sometimes potable) water to areas of this country which are short on both. We can either make more water (via desalination), or we can "rain share". Why "rain share"? Simple reason - our aquifers are running out of juice. If we don't allow them time to replenish, our "bread basket to the world" will come up way short to feed the globe and maybe even us. We have more than enough water to do what needs to be done in this country - we just need to figure out how to match supply and demand.
We have great engineering prowess in this country. We can do this, and should do it now. According to many hydrologists, the clock is ticking, and we have only one or two more decades before our largest aquifer (Ogallala) starts to run dry. We will then have HUGE problems feeding the world should we not have an optimal rainfall year.
The time for action is now. We have the water resources. We just need to make sure the right amounts of water get to the right areas. That is, before our water resources are no longer resources.