Fresh water is not renewing fast enough for human consumption

Edwin J. Viera, Columnist

Transportation is one of the most vital assets to all people. Getting around allows us to get to work, run errands, and so on. What gets most of us out and about is oil and gasoline.

For years, this was one of the driving forces behind the war in Afghanistan. Since America is dependent on oil in the Middle East. This crisis has seemingly evolved from oil to something a little more important… water.

75 percent of the Earth is water, yet the majority is completely undrinkable due to its salt content. We have found ways around it but the world is in a drought, like California, because water is not being supplied fast enough.

Last year, California experienced one of the worst droughts in its history. An issue like this relates to the oil crisis that the U.S. found itself in years ago. It seems that one of the most renewable resources is not able to renew fast enough.

The problem now seems to be that water creation cannot keep up with the growing population. Oil seems to have fallen of the list of the world’s pressing issue, but is slowly being replaced by water. It seems that blue is the new black or water is the new oil.

Then again it does bring up a few questions. Sure, California was able to resolve their drought issues, but can the same thing happen for the world, or will we soon enter into water wars? I couldn’t help but wonder.

How did water go from being a renewable resource to a depleting resource?

Water is one of the most common resources in the world and has come under scrutiny especially with the Flint Water Crisis. For those who may not recall, the city of Flint, Michigan had corroded pipes and that caused many cases of lead poisoning. People there are still drinking bottled water.

This led to a major journalistic investigation by two reporters at USA Today and their story was about numerous other cities with this problem. What they found was phenomenal. Almost 2,000 water systems across the country contain harmful lead levels.

The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares. The USA Today investigation team also found at least 180 of the water systems failed to notify consumers about the high lead levels as federal rules require.
Many of the highest reported lead levels were found at schools and day cares. A water sample at a Maine elementary school was 42 times higher than the EPA limit of 15 parts per billion (ppb), while a Pennsylvania preschool was 14 times higher, records show. At an elementary school in Ithaca, NY, one sample tested this year at a stunning 5,000 ppb of lead, the EPA’s threshold for “hazardous waste.”

Problems such as lead poisoning is one of the major causes of undrinkable water, but it’s a small part of a larger issue… pollution. Lakes, rivers and streams are being polluted with chemicals that can cause many defects. One of the biggest disasters is right in Niagara Falls.

In Niagara Falls, an area of land was dug out to try and divert the Niagara River, but the plan never came to fruition. Love Canal is a neighborhood in Niagara Falls that was one of the worst ecological disasters in history. The former Hooker Company disposed of 22,000 barrels of toxic waste.

From then on things only got worse because a school was built directly over the dump site. Many kids were contaminated with chemicals that caused leukemia. The ground water was completely contaminated and undrinkable.

Since then, the spill was cleaned up and has been deemed livable again. A backup of groundwater is essential to all communities. Farmers in California used groundwater to allow their crops to survive the drought of 2015.

Water is essential to all because humans. Our need for it isn’t for frivolous uses, but for survival. All around the globe water is being lost to pollution, subpar water systems, and the expanding population.

Oil is fleeting, but perhaps there is still some hope for water, if conserved in the proper ways. Since rain is constant; as seen in Buffalo over the last few days, it may be a while before water is completely gone. Though, it’s just a matter of time.

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