Water Crisis And the 2012 Presidential Campaign
Ask your candidate about America’s water safety. Ask your candidate about the groundwater pollution caused by Fracking for oil and gas. You will hear a script that Fracking creates jobs and will provide clean energy for Americans for a hundred years. Ask your candidate if Americans can live for a hundred years with toxic water. What’s in Your Water?
The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks, and still be legal. Examine whether contaminants in your water supply met two standards: the legal limits established by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the typically stricter health guidelines.
Seville, California, with a population of about 300, is one of dozens of predominantly Latino unincorporated communities in the Central Valley plagued for decades by contaminated drinking water. It is the grim result of more than half a century in which chemical fertilizers, animal wastes, pesticides and other substances have infiltrated aquifers, seeping into the groundwater and eventually into the tap. An estimated 20 percent of small public water systems in Tulare County are unable to meet safe nitrate levels, according to a United Nations representative.
… growing up in this impoverished agricultural community of numbered roads and lush citrus orchards, young people have learned a harsh life lesson: “No tomes el agua!” — “Don’t drink the water!”
… a life teeming with worry: about children accidentally sipping contaminated water while cooling off with a garden hose, about not having enough clean water for an elderly parent’s medications, about finding a rock while cleaning the feeding tube of a severely disabled daughter, as Lorie Nieto did.
Tooleville, California – water has been contaminated with arsenic and bacteria.
Many spend up to 10 percent of their income on water.
The NY Times series “Toxic Waters” tries to inform the public about how drinking water resources are being squandered. It appears the facts are being ignored to the peril of everyone. I am re-posting “Water water, dirty water, fuel for war” from March 15, 2009. I am adding new facts to emphasize the critical situation we are currently facing. We, the people of this country and the world, have a genuine WATER CRISIS.
Check out these sources of information:
World Water Council, Blue Planet, Water.CC, California Water Crisis, World Health Organization, and WIKI.
Principal manifestations of the water crisis.
- Inadequate access to safe drinking water for about 884 million people
- Inadequate access to water for sanitation and waste disposal for 2.5 billion people
- Groundwater overdrafting (excessive use) leading to diminished agricultural yields
- Overuse and pollution of water resources harming biodiversity
- Regional conflicts over scarce water resources sometimes resulting in warfare
First of all there is The 6th edition, Marseille 2012 in March of this year. This forum is critical. Ask your favorite candidate, is America attending? Addressing the deteriorating water quality crisis is not heard on the lips of America’s politicians during this vicious Presidential campaign. What strikes me most is that water solutions are being addressed at more local and regional levels around the world. It appears that the politics of individual countries are not designed to cooperate with one another.
Data was collected by an advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, who shared it with The Times.
For example, America has enough environmentally conscious groups and agencies to populate their own country. But their voices do not reach the Presidential candidates. 2012 US GOP Presidential Candidates prefer to divide their country using religion and the idea of exclusion. Class has nothing to do with all this … however, those who cannot afford sophisticated water purification systems will be the victims. Oil and religion, again, is the focus for candidates. Americans and other occupants of this planet are being snubbed for money!
You cannot drink money. The human body is over 60% water. Water in our bodies is different from ordinary water. “Water in our bodies has different physical properties from ordinary bulk water, because of the presence of proteins and other biomolecules. Proteins change the properties of water to perform particular tasks in different parts of our cells,” said Martin Gruebele, a William H. and Janet Lycan Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois.” When that water becomes toxic, we die!
Observations from my 2009 article have not improved, they have actually gotten worse:
Global forum seeks to avert water crisis Nearly half of the world’s people will be living in areas of acute water shortage by 2030, the United Nations warned, and an estimated 1 billion people remain without access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
The world’s population of 6.6 billion is forecast to rise by 2.5 billion by 2050. Most of the growth will be in developing countries, much of it in regions where water is already scarce.
As populations and living standards rise, a global water crisis looms unless countries take urgent action, the international body said.
“Water is not enough of a political issue,” said Daniel Zimmer, associate general of the World Water Council, one of the organizations behind the World Water Forum.
“One of the targets is to make politicians understand that water should be higher up on their domestic agenda and care that it is a necessity for the welfare, stability and health of their populations.”
Because of the lack of political attention, hundreds of millions of people remain trapped in poverty and ill health and exposed to the risk of water-related disasters, the U.N. warns. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said water scarcity is a “potent fuel for wars and conflict.”
The goal of the 6th World Water Forum is to tackle the challenges our world is facing and to bring water high on all political agendas. There will be no sustainable development while the water issues remain unsolved. Everywhere on the planet, for all and everyone, the Right to Water (recognised by 189 states at the UN one year ago) must be guaranteed and implemented
The Fifth World Water Forum in the Turkish city of Istanbul, encountered a charged agenda. Access to clean water and sanitation, river pollution, madcap extraction of aquifers, jockeying for water rights and the impact of climate change have turned the stuff of life into a fiercely contentious issue.
In 348 pages, their document, warned of a triple whammy in which supplies of freshwater were being viciously squeezed by demographic pressure, waste and drought. It spoke of a “global water crisis” with plenty of potential for instability and conflict. Loic Fauchon, head of the World Water Council,, said the facts amounted to a glaring message that times have changed.
Less visible, but also massively destructive, is over-irrigation, in which water is used to grow thirsty crops in scorching climates and soils that are naturally parched.
Then there is the damming of rivers for hydro-electric projects, which affects flows downstream, and the frenzied extraction of “fossil water” — underground aquifers that took hundreds of thousands of years to build up.
Amplifying the problem is climate change, affecting patterns of rainfall and snowfall. Water scarcity has the potential to stoke unrest, frictions within countries and conflicts between states, according to the UN document, the Third World Water Development Report. “Conflicts about water can occur at all scales,” the report warned. “Hydrologic shocks that may occur through climate change increase the risk of major national and international security threats, especially in unstable areas.”
The companies who use fracking are not even obligated to report the chemicals they are using to any government agency, Sutley said. Fracking is a process exempt by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 2005, allowing companies to conceal the use of dangerous chemicals.
Diesel in your water means you might be able to save on filling up at the station, but also means you will die if you drink any natural water in a 100-mile radius. Suddenly entire ecosystems are in play, as fish float on the surfaces of toxic rivers and plants dry up because of chemicals unregulated by any government entity.
Another chemical used in the process of fracking is methane, one of the more popular greenhouse gases to hiss and groan about at the annual Sierra Club Christmas party. The release of methane is a huge part of natural gas’s carbon footprint — nearly 20 percent greater than coal. Clean doesn’t seem clean when it is washed in acid rain.
‘More must be done’ to protect water during wartime“Water, sewage and electrical power systems, along with medical facilities, are usually the first things to be disrupted when a war breaks out,” Robert Mardini, head of the ICRC’s water and habitat unit, said in a written statement.
What’s in Your Water The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that the water Americans drink can pose what scientists say are serious health risks — and still be legal. Examine whether contaminants in your water supply met two standards: the legal limits established by the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the typically stricter health guidelines. The data was collected by an advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, who shared it with The Times.
Opportunity for salvaging the future for humanity is passing at a faster rate every day. Drinking water loss is not related to anything but wasteful human behavior. Education, politics and corporate attention has failed the human race. Ideologies of religion have failed their gods creation. Creatures of self importance have doomed themselves and everyone else to suffer through a crisis of water. Oceans are saturated with poisons and litter that corrupt the food chain. Arable land has been dumped on with toxic trash that ultimately seeps into the water tables around the world. Poor countries, without resources, allow human waste to stream down streets and become the sidewalks for children. Military organizations around the world freely, and under government protection, dump their toxic materials into classified sites … out of sight, out of mind. Biological materials, poisons, fissionable and toxic sludge have been trusted to military crews who have not even been told what they are handling. That is classified. If it stinks … bury it! Don’t let civilians find out! Transport it across the country in secret. What they (civilians) don’t know, won’t hurt them.
That philosophy, “out of sight, out of mind” has come back to threaten the entire world. Oooops, we don’t have drinkable water any more, Hmmmm, lets fight a war, just like we did over OIL! .
In the United States industry is the greatest source of pollution, accounting for more than half the volume of all water pollution and for the most deadly pollutants. Some 370,000 manufacturing facilities use huge quantities of freshwater to carry away wastes of many kinds. The waste-bearing water, or effluent, is discharged into streams, lakes, or oceans, which in turn disperse the polluting substances. In its National Water Quality Inventory, reported to Congress in 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that approximately 40% of the nation’s surveyed lakes, rivers, and estuaries were too polluted for such basic uses as drinking supply, fishing, and swimming. The pollutants include grit, asbestos, phosphates and nitrates, mercury, lead, caustic soda and other sodium compounds, sulfur and sulfuric acid, oils, and petrochemicals.
In addition, numerous manufacturing plants pour off undiluted corrosives, poisons, and other noxious byproducts. The construction industry discharges slurries of gypsum, cement, abrasives, metals, and poisonous solvents. Another pervasive group of contaminants entering food chains is the polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds, components of lubricants, plastic wrappers, and adhesives. In yet another instance of pollution, hot water discharged by factories and power plants causes so-called thermal pollution by increasing water temperatures. Such increases change the level of oxygen dissolved in a body of water, thereby disrupting the water’s ecological balance, killing off some plant and animal species while encouraging the overgrowth of others.
Other Sources of Water Pollution
Towns and municipalities are also major sources of water pollution. In many public water systems, pollution exceeds safe levels. One reason for this is that much groundwater has been contaminated by wastes pumped underground for disposal or by seepage from surface water. When contamination reaches underground water tables, it is difficult to correct and spreads over wide areas. In addition, many U.S. communities discharge untreated or only partially treated sewage into the waterways, threatening the health of their own and neighboring populations.
Along with domestic wastes, sewage carries industrial contaminants and a growing tonnage of paper and plastic refuse (see solid waste). Although thorough sewage treatment would destroy most disease-causing bacteria, the problem of the spread of viruses and viral illness remains. Additionally, most sewage treatment does not remove phosphorus compounds, contributed principally by detergents, which cause eutrophication of lakes and ponds. Excreted drugs and household chemicals also are not removed by present municipal treatment facilites, and can be recycled into the drinking water supply.
Rain drainage is another major polluting agent because it carries such substances as highway debris (including oil and chemicals from automobile exhausts), sediments from highway and building construction, and acids and radioactive wastes from mining operations into freshwater systems as well as into the ocean. Also transported by rain runoff and by irrigation return-flow are animal wastes from farms and feedlots, a widespread source of pollutants impairing rivers and streams, groundwater, and even some coastal waters. Antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used to raise livestock are components of such animal wastes. Pesticide and fertilizer residues from farms also contribute to water pollution via rain drainage.
Large and small craft significantly pollute both inland and coastal waters by dumping their untreated sewage. Oil spilled accidentally or flushed from tankers and offshore rigs (900,000 metric tons annually) sullies beaches and smothers bird, fish, and plant life. In 1978 in one of the world’s worst single instances of water pollution, the Amoco Cadiz broke in two on the coast of Brittany, France, and spilled 1.6 million barrels of oil, causing great environmental destruction. Oil well blowouts during offshore drilling, such as the 1979 Ixtoc 1 blowout in Gulf of Mexico off Mexico and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, have also caused severe oil pollution. In addition to its direct damage to wildlife, oil takes up fat-soluble poisons like DDT, allowing them to be concentrated in organisms that ingest the oil-contaminated water; thus such poisons enter the food chains leading to sea mammals and people (see ecology).
Both DDT, which has been banned in the United States since 1972, and PCBs are manufactured in many parts of the world and are now widespread in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In addition, tarry oil residues are encountered throughout the Atlantic, as are styrofoam and other plastic rubbish. Plastic bits litter sections of the Pacific and Atlantic, accumulating in greater concentrations to form “garbage patches” where the currents are slack. Garbage, solid industrial wastes, and sludge formed in sewage treatment, all commonly dumped into oceans, are other marine pollutants found worldwide, especially along coastal areas.
Dangers of Water Pollution
Virtually all water pollutants are hazardous to humans as well as lesser species; sodium is implicated in cardiovascular disease, nitrates in blood disorders. Mercury and lead can cause nervous disorders. Some contaminants are carcinogens. DDT is toxic to humans and can alter chromosomes. PCBs cause liver and nerve damage, skin eruptions, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and fetal abnormalities. Along many shores, shellfish can no longer be taken because of contamination by DDT, sewage, or industrial wastes.
Dysentery, salmonellosis, cryptosporidium, and hepatitis are among the maladies transmitted by sewage in drinking and bathing water. In the United States, beaches along both coasts, riverbanks, and lake shores have been ruined for bathers by industrial wastes, municipal sewage, and medical waste. Water pollution is an even greater problem in the Third World, where millions of people obtain water for drinking and sanitation from unprotected streams and ponds that are contaminated with human waste. This type of contamination has been estimated to cause more than 3 million deaths annually from diarrhea in Third World countries, most of them children.
Legislation and Control
The United States has enacted extensive federal legislation to fight water pollution. Laws include the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (1948), the Clean Water Act (1972), the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (1972), the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, as amended in 1988. International cooperation is being promoted by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultive Organization (IMCO), a UN agency. Limitation of ocean dumping was proposed at the 80-nation London Conference of 1972, and in the same year 12 European nations meeting in Oslo adopted rules to regulate dumping in the North Atlantic. An international ban on ocean dumping in 1988 set further restrictions.