The relationships between places and past events shape human identity and provide memories that are a reservoir of pain and joy; they connect the chain of time between past and future. In addition to other characteristics, my place of birth, beliefs and ethnic roots all constitute a part of my identity.
We’re going to finally regulate and monitor groundwater, and we’re going to keep it all secret.
We have to accept that there isn’t enough water for everyone to do everything they want anymore, if there ever was. We have to accept that all water users, including the environment, deserve a say in how to allocate the limited water we have.
This article originally appeared on Reveal
A decade ago, reports began emerging of a strange occurrence in the Saudi Arabian desert. Ancient desert springs were drying up.
The springs fed the lush oases depicted in the Bible and Quran, and as the water disappeared, these verdant gardens of life were returning to sand.
The water-intensive nature of almond milk, of course, is no secret. By law, food manufacturers have to name ingredients in order of their prevalence in the product. For Califia and other almond milk brands, it starts like this: “filtered water, almonds.” Given that it takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow a single almond in California, where 80 percent of the world’s almonds are produced, drenching the finished product in yet more water seems insane.
So much water is being pumped out of the ground worldwide that it is contributing to global sea level rise, a phenomenon tied largely to warming temperatures and climate change.
Home to around 1,300 Palestinians, the village of Wadi Fukin sits in a fertile valley close to Bethlehem, right along the border with Israel. Driving along the only road that leads into town, I’m taken by the sheer size of the nearby Israeli settlement, Beitar Illit, built just to the East. White stone residential towers housing over 45,000 Israelis rise above on the hills as my car descends into the valley. The buildings slide down towards the village, ending in a towering wall built into the hillside that looms above groves of olive trees.
We do not know how much our current problem derives from the build-up of heat-trapping gasses, but we can take this drought as a stark warning of things to come.
“The very success of a person as a politician is dependent upon resources that come from the people that you give exceptions to” – Michael Machado, farmer and former California State Senator.
After traveling more than 2,000 miles across California, it’s clear that the state’s drought is mired in paradox with decades of water mismanagement and regional fighting. While cities – some of which never installed water meters – struggle to convince its dwellers to conserve, agriculture consumes 80% of California’s water.
“If it materializes as planned, the Omo could be emptied in its entirety, which would mean that Lake Turkana might be destined to become Africa’s Aral Sea.”
“A big international oil company is breaking the law because nobody’s looking. And taking economic advantage of the law by cheating”
Perhaps there is the chance that if John Wesley Powell had had his way, communities would have grown up with a different water ethic, one that considered longer term into the future than the next cycle of the plow.
The 117 miles long aqueduct was built in 1951 as part of the Central Valley Project to transport irrigation water from the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta to the agricultural fields of Mendota.
“If you steal my water, I am going to be passionate about it”
The drought began in October 2010 and has continued through 2013. The state experienced a short and rainy respite in the winter and spring of 2012, but by the fall of 2012 dry conditions had returned to much of the state.
As of June 4, 2013, 95 percent of Texas is in some form of drought conditions, and the state’s reservoirs are only 67 percent full. About 16 percent of the state is in “exceptional” drought, the worst stage.
Unable to provide for his family, this man tried to hang himself after his wife left him, taking his children. He survived because his sister found and saved him in time. Drought in India, and competition with industry over scarce water resources, has driven thousands of farmers facing debt to commit suicide in recent years.
More than 2,200 farmers in India committed suicide in the past four years, as water loss and drought drove them deeper into debt.
Samples are sent to laboratories, which analyse levels of certain types of bacteria that could indicate the presence of pollution, primarily from sewerage or livestock waste.
Over-allocation of the river’s waters 90 years ago combined with increasing populations and economic growth in the river basin have created circumstances in which conservation efforts — no matter how organized — could be too little to overcome the projected water deficit that the Colorado River Basin will face in the next 20 years.