Last month California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a drought emergency for the entire state. State officials predicted that as many as 95,000 agricultural jobs would go. Total economic losses could reach $3 billion. Up to a third of the 3 million acres normally irrigated with federally supplied water will be left fallow. Those of us not living in the parched San Joaquin valley are urged to plant drought resistant plants, take shorter showers, sweep our driveways instead of hosing them down, and take our cars to car washes because they use less water.
I don't know. Those are pretty onerous requests. To further threaten our self indulgent habits, we are told that if we don't dramatically decrease our water use, we face rationing.
Will any of us truly survive with shortened showers? This is looking like a pretty grim situation.
Meanwhile, the United Nations reports that by the year 2020 in Africa alone, 75 million to 250 million people may lack the water they need.
Unlike the energy crisis, for which alternatives to conventional fuels exist, there is "a continuously increasing demand for finite water resources, for which there are no substitutes," the report said.
The United Nations urges governments to find ways to finance the development of water treatment and delivery, particularly in developing nations, because in some areas water has been used or polluted "beyond the point of no return," the report said. "Coping with a future without reliable water resource systems is now a real prospect in parts of the world."
Imagine what life would be like here in Southern California without enough clean, drinkable water. Forget the shortened showers and the unwashed drive ways. Picture life here if we had to walk, for example, from downtown Glendale to the Rose Bowl to get a bucket of water which we would then have to carry home the best way we could because of course the automobile would be far too expensive for just a drive to the well or whatever rancid stuff we could gather from the Arroyo. By the time we would get home, far too much water would have splashed out of the bucket.
A company called Q Drum makes containers in which women and children in rural Africa can carry water home without spilling all of it or injuring their backs or just plain wearing themselves out.
The water container is a bagel shaped thing that can be pulled along with a rope. It makes life easier and water possible.
Our love of technology has helped us get into our current climate crisis. Our love of technology can also get us out of it.
Just something to think about during our shortened showers.