US citizens spend $100B a year on bottled water while $30B would create clean water systems worldwide. Technological Hubris: We DONT need to develop huge water collection sites to deliver water.
Why do the worlds greatest rivers no longer reach the sea?
650 gallons for every # of rice 130 gallons for every # of wheat 65 gallons for every # of potatoes 3,000 gallons for every # of hamburger 500-1,000 gallons for every quart of milk 50 cups of water for every t. of sugar
A typical meat-eating, beer-swilling, milk guzzling Westerner consumes a hundred times his/her own weight in water daily. A vegetarian, half that.
Thus, what kind of food we eat is just as important as the kind of car we drive.
And clothing – oh! Cotton is a HUGE guzzler. It takes 25 bathtubs of water to create ONE cotton t-shirt!
THE CHANGING PROFILE OF THE ARAL SEA 19601971 1976 1989 2009 (earl ySep t.) 2025?
Aral Sea Large Aral Small Aral Separation of Large and Small Aral
PRIMARY ENVIRONMENTAL AND HUMAN PROBLEMS OF ARAL SEA Salt/dust storms from exposed bottom affects wide area Loss of commercial fishing Climate change in area around sea *Substantial drops in groundwater levels Poor quality drinking water (saline) High morbidity/ mortality given contamination
Primary Diseases DISEASE CAUSE Respiratory Problems Blowing salt and dust Viral Hepatitis Contaminated water and poor hygiene Typhus/paratyphus Contaminated water and poor hygiene Liver and esophageal cancer (?) Blowing salt and dust Intestinal disorders Contaminated water, poor hygiene and (?) blowing salt and dust Kidney problems Highly mineralized water Congenital abnormalities Toxic contaminants Plague Explosion of rodent population on lake bottom
SHIPS GRAVEYARD NEAR MUYNAK, KARAKALPAKSTAN SEPT. 1989 (photo by P. Micklin)
ABANDONED SHIPS ON THE DRIED BOTTOM OF THE GULF OF SARYSHAGANAK (SMALL ARAL SEA) SEPTEMBER 2005 (photo by P. Micklin)
THE PROBLEMS DONT EXIST ONLY IN OTHER COUNTRIES
THE OGALLALA AQUIFER *If spread across the U.S., the aquifer would cover all 50 states with 1.5 feet of water *If drained, it would take more than 6,000 years to refill naturally *More than 90 percent of the water pumped is used to irrigate crops *$20 billion a year in food and fiber depend on the aquifer
CALIFORNIAS SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY AQUIFER Americas largest farming region Single-largest zone of groundwater pumping Aquifer levels have dropped nearly 400 feet since 1960s Groundwater usage is almost completely unregulated in CA After 1900, with advent of large-scale farming, water tables dropped significantly
The data is telling us that this rate of pumping is not sustainable.
Water scarcity is experienced by humans as famine.
MAXIMUM SUPPLY OF WATER WORLDWIDE: 1400 CUBIC YARDS/PERSON /YEAR WESTERN ANNUAL USAGE: 2000 CUBIC YARDS/PERSON /YEAR
THE SIXTH GREAT MASS EXTINCTION We can continue on the path to our own extinction, or, preferably, we modify our behavior toward the global ecosystem of which we are still very much a part. The latter must happen before the Sixth Extinction can be declared over, and life can once again rebound.
WE NEED A REVOLUTION IN HOW WE USE WATER Invest in *Play Pumps*Play Pumps Rethink dams (drought impact/ huge displacement) Check out 350.org (as in parts/million CO2)350.org Build Water CooperativesWater Cooperatives Repair infrastructure Grow crops appropriate to rainfall Move from flooding whole fields to drip systems (thus limiting evaporation)
WE NEED A REVOLUTION IN HOW WE USE WATER Harvesting rain with rain barrels Investing in low- flow shower heads and toilets Growing lawns appropriate to regional rainfall Limiting use of lawn fertilizers Choosing local foods Living with less Using environmentally- friendly cleaning products Drinking local, unbottled water vs. bottled products
WHO OWNS THE WATER? Nestle battles Michigan residents over water rights: rule of capture Nestle Coca-Cola and Pepsico battle local Indians for water rights: Getting large amounts of water for free Coca-Cola and Pepsico
WE NEED A REVOLUTION IN HOW WE USE WATER: THREE GUIDING PRINCIPLES Everything is connected Everything is changing Were all in this together
You can live without oil, but you cannot live without water.
Jill Stiemsma gratefully acknowledges the University of Chicagos Summer Teacher Institute, June 28-30, 2010, for scheduling the following presenters whose ideas are adapted throughout these slides: Josh Ellis, Associate, Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago Reuben Keller, Lecturer, Environmental Studies, U of C Pamela Martin, Asst Prof., Geophysical Sciences, U of C Mary Matlock, Prof. of Ecological Engineering, U of AK Philip Micklin, Dept. of Geography, W. MI U: Kalamazoo Fred Pearce, Freelance Author and Journalist, London Mandy Poole, Engineering Consultant, Baxter & Woodman Jim Schulz, Exec. Dir., Democracy Center, Cochabamba, Bolivia