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Water, Water, Everywhere But Not For Everyone

President Donald Trump has criticized water conservation efforts as not only a waste of time but unnecessary.

Trump has blamed US water shortages on people flushing the toilet too often as he argued in his usual misinformed and ignorant way for the deregulation of water usage. He claims there is plenty of water around: “It comes down. It’s called rain.” This statement is as stupid if not more so, than his solution to wildfires: “Rake the forests.

Trump is misinformed, ill-informed, and ignorant on many fronts. It is a myth that water is a renewable resource. Every single molecule of water that has ever been and ever will be is now present on the planet. There is the same amount of water on earth as there was when the earth was formed. The water that comes from your tap could contain molecules that Neanderthals drank. The overall amount of water on our planet has remained the same for two billion years.

Whatever water humans and animals use and expel as gray water and urine is cleaned by nature and makes its way back through the cycle before being reused again as purified freshwater, therefore rain.

The big issue is that nature is losing the battle in cleaning water.

In spite of rivers like the Thames in London, UK and the Cuyahoga in Ohio (the river that caught fire) being cleaned up, there are many rivers and freshwater lakes in many countries around the world that have died, disappeared or have just simply been overcome with pesticides and human waste.

Growing water shortages in many areas of the planet are caused by global warming and climate change. Yes, of course, there have been droughts and dustbowls in the past but nothing to the extent of what is happening now. Water is our lifeblood and to blame shortages on people flushing the toilet too frequently indicates sheer stupidity and ignorance.

Humans are using up freshwater resources at a rate faster than freshwater is being replenished. This does not contradict the previous statement: ” Every single molecule of water that has ever been and ever will be is now present on the planet.” What I am talking about is potable freshwater; fit for humans to drink, cook in, and bath with. The human body is comprised of 60% water. The body needs clean water to operate and survive. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry; “The brain and heart are composed of 73% water and the lungs, about 83%. The skin contains 64% water, muscles, and kidneys 79%, and even the bones are a watery 31%.”

Areas of the planet that desperately need water are not getting it and places, where they do not need water are getting too much, as witnessed by the many disastrous floods that have occurred in the past decade. About 97 percent of Earth’s water is in the oceans that cover more than 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Of the tiny percentage that’s not in the ocean, about two percent is currently locked up in glaciers and ice caps. That, however, is changing as the Antarctic is breaking up and the Arctic is melting along with the Greenland ice sheets. Some climatologists are warning of a six-meter rise in sea levels if this trend continues.

Australia has been suffering through one of the longest droughts the country has experienced since weather records first began. This year, forest and bush fires began a month before the fire season started and in many cases, were so out of control, firefighters had to stand back and let them burn. California has also suffered one of its worst fire outbreaks as have European countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, and Sweden. According to recent reports, the planet is losing forested land to fires at the rate of 800 football fields an hour in 2019.

All the water on the planet would fit into a sphere the width of Texas. And the freshwater that humans have access to and depend on is less than 1 percent of that. Animals and humans can live without energy, but they can’t live without water.

One final note, a human can survive for a month or more without food, but only a week or so without drinking water.

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Post Image Credit:  Yoann Boyer, Unsplash

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Written by Michael Trigg

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