Even more serious and of an imminent danger to the entire world then peak oil, is the global fresh water shortage. The need for fresh water is already reaching critical stages in various parts of the world, Mexico, Israel, Gaza, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, England, over one half of all of Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Ethiopia, Vietnam, India, Bangledesh, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Spain, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Libya, and vast portions of the United States.
The extreme need for fresh water can be shown in these statistics:
25 gallons of water is required for a single portion of rice;
130 gallons of water is required for a a two-egg omelet or a mixed salad;
265 gallons of water is required for a single glass of milk;
400 gallons of water is required for an ice cream;
530 gallons of water is required for a pork chop;
800 gallons of water is required for a hamburger;
1,320 gallons of water is required for a small steak;
592 cups of water to is required to grow and make one cup of coffee;
50 cups of water is needed to grow a teaspoonful of sugar.
But there’s plenty of water, right? Not according to researchers around the world. By 2020, the world will face chronic water shortages, failing by at least 17% to meet the world’s fresh water needs. And that 17% represent food shortages. The inability for adequate supplies of water is going to mean massive levels of hunger and starvation, particularly in acutely affected water shortage areas.
Most human-used water is utilized to grow food and raise animals, consuming nearly 70% of current water usage. However, so-called “modern” production methods in agriculture and ranching are extremely inefficient and wasteful, resulting in copious amounts of waste. Even worse, such practices lead to other extremely damaging effects – unsustainable urbanization, desertification, draining of wetlands, exploding populations, and economic growth, especially of water-intensive industries, such as microprocessor fabrication – all contributing to the worst water crisis the world has ever known.
The depletion of some ancient aquifiers, such as underneath Mexico city has also resulted in the the subsidence (sinking) of the entire area.
All the lakes around Mexico City have dried and it is now sinking into the cavernous remains of its withered reservoirs. Soil subsidence is a major problem in cities around the world, from Bangkok to Venice.
No country on earth is going to be immune to the changing climates. Within 20 years, over 100 million Chinese won’t have enough water to even survive on.
The Ogallala Aquifer, also known as the High Plains Aquifer, is a vast yet shallow underground water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. One of the world’s largest aquifers, it lies under about 174,000 mi² (450,000 km²) in portions of the eight states of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas. It was named in 1899 by N.H. Darton from its type locality near the town of Ogallala, Nebraska. The Ogallala aquifer in the USA, its largest, has been depleted to near oblivion. The BBC estimates that it lost the equivalent of 18 Colorado rivers by 2000.
Water conservation practices (terracing and crop rotation), more efficient irrigation methods (center pivot and drip), and simply reduced area under irrigation have helped to slow depletion of the aquifer, but levels are generally still dropping, particularly in the southern parts at rates exceeding one hundred times the replacement rate.
Not surprising, the global greed grab by power elite for water resources has already begun. The Bush crime family has purchased 98,000+ acres (in addition to the 173,000 acres already owned by George H.) on top of the Guarani Aquifier, with US troops now being stationed in Paraguay.
The base is capable of housing 16,000 troops, has an enormous radar system, huge hangars, and an air traffic control tower. The airstrip itself is larger than the one at the international airport in Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital. Near the base is a military camp that has recently grown in size.
Hallinan notes that Paraguay’s neighbors are very skeptical of the situation, as there is a disturbing resemblance between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia and the disclaimers made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta, Ecuador. The U.S. claimed the Manta base was a “dirt strip” used for weather surveillance. When local journalists revealed its size, however, the U.S. admitted the base harbored thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S. troops, and Washington had signed a ten-year basing agreement with Ecuador.
Interestingly, Paraguay first granted immunity to US soldiers, but it is now being reported that it is to be revoked in December 2006. As an interesting side note, and possibly related, the former Bush, as CIA Director, was involved in the cross-border political assassinations (worth reading, if only to understand the hypocrisy of the Bush crime family).
Governments around the world are jockeying into position for oil and water, which will be the resource wars of the immediate future. As the world’s existing fresh water resources become more critical, expect water to become the currency of (your) life. No water – no food. No food – no life.