Frequently someone will quote that roughly 2% of the earth’s water is fit for human consumption. I want to add that of that 2% man doesn’t even consume 1% of it. Now THAT is something to think about. Man consumes less than 0.02% of the consumable water the earth provides for us. Say that number out loud to yourself; 2 one-hundredths of one percent.
But wait, let’s carry the entire equation out. 98% of the world’s water (mostly seawater) is not fit for human consumption. Now think what this means, it means that 99.98 percent of the world’s water is not being used by man. Also remember that technology today can turn any water, even polluter, radio active, urine and feces contaminated water into perfectly fine, safe drinking water. Pretty amazing stuff.
Now ask yourself, if this is the case, why in the name of God are 1.8 billion people suffering from water shortage? The reason is that man continues to take a band aid approach to water. Our solutions are too short-term and far too small in scope. Obama spent $1 trillion dollars on a jobs program and I can’t for the life of me see where any of it went into building truly sustainable water infrastructure.
The Lake Mead project was the last such project. If we are to ever ease our water challenges, we better greatly expand our imagination, and we better do it quickly. Drought stricken areas need to build additional storage capacity. River and lake towns must build additional treatment capacity should their groundwater ever run out. Government needs to look at interstate water pipelines. Evaporation technology R&D is an exciting option for bringing water to the dry world; it is just one technology that is severely under-funded. And among other things, perhaps the largest source of abundant fresh water, storm water continues to be ignored and wasted.
Make no mistake, the earth provides and abundance of water, However, as the world grows and our cities become more densely populated, our views on water must begin to expand as well. What worked yesterday is no longer enough.