To say that America has neglected its infrastructure is a monumental understatement. All across the fruited plane our roads are falling apart, bridges are collapsing, electrical service is aging, our parks are greatly neglected, and our woodlands are burning down. However, the worst of our neglect, the 50-year neglect of our water resources has brought us face-to-face with a potential apocalypse, that unlike the contrived nonsense of climate change and rogue asteroids, has 100% support of the scientific community, and is irrefutably supported by demonstrable evidence.
The problems with our water systems are many. Poisons and toxins, aging treatment plants, outdated analytical technology, leaking pipes, lead pipes, inadequate security, and over pumping are among the problems our neglect has brought to us,
Unfortunately, while we can navigate around potholes and closed down bridges, there is no fix, no work around for a shortage of safe water. Man simply cannot exist without water. It is rudely awakening to see how much of our tax dollars continue to be wasted on our collective poor social behavior and selfishness while the critical necessities of our lives go unattended.
The danger associated with water still remains that we take it for granted and we don’t react to it until we have a problem at our own faucet. But make no mistake, the grim reaper of water is looking over our shoulders and creeping ever closer to each and every one of us.
Providing safe water for the future requires a panoramic, forward looking view and a critically technical understanding of water. Lloyd Joseph Hudlow and Elwood Mead, the visionaries behind the Lake Mead/Boulder Damn project left us the ideal example of how we should be thinking about water. Sadly, the water view of most of our elected officials, academians and water authorities is fatally myopic.
As an example, instead of creating a water pipeline from the ocean to all our great Northwestern woodlands; a pipeline/network that would eliminate all future fire risk to those natural resources, we instead utilize fossil fuel-guzzling aircraft to drop carcinogenic PFAS-containing fire retardants all across our lands, thereby increasing the contamination to our water and food.
My hometown of Memphis, Tennessee presents yet another prime example of obtuse water management and leadership.
- The area is blessed with a pristine aquifer some have estimated to contain upwards of 98 trillion gallons. However, like all rechargeable aquifers, the polluted water filtering back into it is slowly degrading the overall water quality.
- Many of the contaminants are new chemicals that existing filtration technology is not capable of removing
- The area has no substantial back-up reservoirs to handle temporary upsets/threats
- The water from the nearby Mississippi River, with a proper filtration plant and piping system interconnect would guarantee the area safe and ample drinking water should a terrorist/geological or other contamination event compromise the aquifer.
Sadly, it is unlikely that these vital long-term water issues are anywhere on the screen of local leadership.
Over the years, my own water system designs, widely known as being the most expensive to install have also garnered the reputation of weathering future storms far better than my competitors. Water systems must be designed to be fail safe. They must be designed for the worst case scenario. Current water system designs are woefully deficient in protecting us.
Without safe water there can be no life, our water infrastructure must be given a life-saving shot in the arm of new vision and leadership. What we are doing now, or rather, what we are not doing now, is jeopardizing life as we know it. I encourage everyone to learn more about water, about contamination, treatment, storage and planning. I encourage everyone to look at their own local water resources and challenge leaders to actively engage better long-term water vision.