Is water sustainable?

Sustainability is a term that I have issues with. On one hand it is normal for us to want assurance that the things we need in life are abundant and never ending, but on the other hand the term is often a crutch or a place-card in which we become lazy and expect that what we need will be there whenever we want it.

The resources of our life are abundant but I think we have an errant, even arrogant concept of what sustainability is. It seems that when the environment does not behave as we want it to, we conclude that the planet is changing and we must seek out sustainable resources. For example, we continually grow populations in certain areas without ever adding more water infrastructure, and then we expect water sustainability?

Here is the truth. Water is dynamic, it is fluid and it is abundant. There is more water on Earth than man could ever need. Water, across the planet is fixed, it is stable and indestructible. However, for man to benefit completely by nature’s precious gift of water, we have to make a distinction between the sustainability of water, which is a given, versus the sustainability of the communities that we build.

More often than not, when a community runs out of water it is due to the activities of man such as pollution and too much demand, or due to the inactivity of man, such as failing to create adequate storage, treatment plants and piping. Until our activities include long-term planning and vision we will continue to suffer water pain. There simply is no technology that will overcome our neglect.

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