Friday, October 15, 2010

Global Water Management?

Today is October 15, 2010 and it is ActionBlogDay. The topic this year is “Water”. It’s a super easy subject for me because I’m a groundwater blogger, yet when I think about it, it shouldn’t be a difficult task for anyone since water touches just about every aspect of life on this planet today. Come to think of it, it’s touched every aspect of life on this planet from the very beginning of time. Period.

So what should we be saying about water in this venue? Many very important folks will be weighing in today, so what of merit can I possibly add to the discussion? What answers do I have for us all? I’m sorry, but all I have handy today is the following dose of reality - and hope?

To me, it seems that most people feel managing water is quite easy – figure out how much you have available, then don’t use any more. Instant sustainability, no future problems, bingo. Yet this is rarely the norm. Why is that? First, it’s not that easy to figure out precisely how much water is available in the long run – in either surface water or groundwater systems. Second, it’s been too easy to stretch out and add to your supplies from elsewhere. Third, never anticipated water quality degradation affects what you think your supplies might be in surprising ways – always negative. Fourth, the climate variability that used to just make it difficult to calculate what your supply is, is now changing those supplies directly. Fifth, sustainability is not an individual concept but a collective commitment. Add to these conditions the legal, social and economic influences plied upon the most necessary resource on earth, not-with-standing perhaps air itself, and we wonder why it gets so dicey.

Bottom line is that water has never been easy to manage and never will be. When someone steps up and declares the best times, places, quantities and uses of our global water supply, and everyone else agrees, and we have the political will and economic means to make it happen, then we’ll have our solutions. This seems to me to be the real challenge.

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