A few years ago I saw a film of a weak and hungry mother leopard hunting day after day to try to find food for herself and her teenager, a son less adept at hunting than she was due to his being young. It was impossible since drought created water deficits indirectly caused in part by climate change impacts. In turn, the water lack had killed off most other animals in the region or had caused them to flee. So to tide herself over, she ate her child except for one of the legs, which a hyena grabbed after which he quickly ran away with it in his mouth.
Some creatures in a reverse course of events eat their parents, former friends and other relatives in times of desperation and humans aren’t above the act. If this sort of event is doubted, look at Donner’s Pass and many other similar happenings.
The Donner Party, or Donner-Reed Party, was a group of American pioneers led by George Donner and James F. Reed who set out for California in a wagon train in May 1846. … Some of the pioneers resorted to cannibalism to survive.
I also saw a photo of a man attacked by a monkey in a dead tree near a small, ever shrinking pool of water. He had brought his goats there for a drink.
As they bent down to slurp down water and further deplete the little local water supply, the monkey screamed out a blood-curdling yell and lunged out of the tree for the man’s head. Fortunately, the man, bigger and stronger, was able to ward off the monkey with not a lot of damage to himself.
However, the fact is that water shortfall is and will continue to be connected to deaths of many species – animals and plants – and will harm or outright destroy many human lives, too.
Moreover, such water deficiencies are only going to get worse over time and will do so across the globe:
The world could suffer a 40 percent shortfall in water in just 15 years unless countries dramatically change their use of the resource, a U.N. report warned last week.
Many underground water reserves are already running low, while rainfall patterns are predicted to become more erratic with climate change. As the world’s population grows to an expected 9 billion by 2050, more groundwater will be needed for farming, industry and personal consumption.
The report predicts global water demand will increase 55 percent by 2050, while reserves dwindle. If current usage trends don’t change, the world will have only 60 percent of the water it needs in 2030, it said.
Having less available water risks catastrophe on many fronts: crops could fail, ecosystems could break down, industries could collapse, disease and poverty could worsen, and violent conflicts over access to water could become more frequent. – From UN Report: World Faces 40% Water Shortfall by 2030 – VOA News]
For millions of people across the world, access to clean water so they can drink, cook and wash, is a daily struggle. In many rural, impoverished communities, fetching water is an arduous task that falls upon women and children.
In Africa and Asia, women and children must walk 3.7 miles on average to get their water. Collectively, women spend over 200 million hours every day just collecting water. That’s more than just a major inconvenience, it’s an incredible amount of lost economic potential.
This time-consuming, physically exhausting endeavor prevents women from working at jobs and keeps children away from school, impacts that continue a cycle of poverty and socioeconomic exclusion. For the women and children who live in one small village in Kenya, their walk to water is more than five miles. And the water they gather isn’t even clean; it comes from a dirty river containing harmful bacteria. …
These villagers are not alone. Around 783 million people—11 percent of the world’s population—don’t have access to clean water, which can be deadly. Lack of clean water and sanitation is the ultimate cause of approximately 3.5 million deaths every year.
It’s a major crisis that could become even worse if nations don’t fully address it—soon. Water is a finite natural resource, and it’s getting scarcer as the global population steadily increases. By 2030, only 60 percent of humanity’s demand for water will be met by existing resources at the current rate of use, according to the U.N. That means four out of 10 people will be without access to water. …
But despite these impressive gains, 2.4 billion people are still using unimproved sanitation facilities, including 946 million people who are still practicing open defecation. India has the highest number, around 190 million people, practicing open defecation, mostly in rural areas. This has led to a number of health impacts, including typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, polio, trachoma, intestinal worm infections and infectious diarrhea, which kills 760,000 children under the age of five worldwide every single year. …
About twenty countries are now water-stressed; by 2020 there will be more than forty. Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and even the Mediterranean will be the most affected regions. For the developing world as a whole, the shortage could average 15–20 percent, with some already tense spots, like the Middle East, much worse off.
Water scarcity will be caused mainly by increased demand and pollution, and will be aggravated by global warming:
Irrigation, accounting for 70 percent of the world’s demand for water, must increase to meet the 40 percent or so expansion of food supplies needed by 2020. It takes 1,000 times more water to grow food for an individual than to meet that person’s need for drinking water. Yet more than half the water entering irrigation systems never makes it to the crops, due to leaks or wasteful practices. And excess irrigation damages lakes, rivers, and marshes—ecosystems on which many poor people depend for food, fish, and timber. In Russia “and Central Asia, many major inland seas, lakes, and rivers are in terminal decline for mostly that reason.
Pollution is another growing worry. About 97 percent of the world’s freshwater stock lies underground in aquifers, with a residence time that averages 1,400 years, against sixteen for rivers. The world over, these aquifers are being either badly overused (in China, India, the western United States, and many other places) or badly polluted, generally almost irreversibly, through nitrates, pesticides, and other man-made products. In parts of northwestern France, nitrates have about ruined the aquifers. This phenomenon is probably worse than we know because it can remain invisible for a long time: pollution from nineteenth-century textile mills in Massachusetts is just starting to show up in artesian wells in Long Island.
Water deficits are thus building towards a major planetary challenge. With climate change making the problem worse, there is a strong global angle. Control over water could become a frequent cause of international conflict, particularly where there is a history of antagonism and one country has the power to restrict the flow of a crucial river.29 The number of river basins shared by several countries has gone up from 210 or so to 260 in the last twenty years. Water shortages are also tightly connected to poverty and health issues, themselves immense global challenges. … – From Water Deficits | Global Issues Network
analysis of the entire global water landscape. For the …. percent of the global fresh water supply, the greatest …. where the water deficit will be larger than 50.
My recommendation is that when glaciers melt or it does rain, the water is caught in basins. They should be dug deeply so underground aquifers can be part of the mix. Then keep expanding upon the basins and maybe something like this colossal project can eventually be created:
|Coordinates||42°21′33″N 72°18′00″WCoordinates: 42°21′33″N 72°18′00″W|
|Primary inflows||New Hampshire|
|Primary outflows||Atlantic ocean|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Max. length||18 miles (28.9 km)|
|Surface area||38.6 mi² (99.97 km²)|
|Average depth||51 ft (16 m)|
|Max. depth||150 ft (46 m)|
|Water volume||412,000,000,000 US gal (1.56 km3)|
|Shore length1||181 mi (291 km)|
|Surface elevation||522 ft (159 m)|
|Settlements||Belchertown Petersham Hardwick Ware New Salem Shutesbury|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
The Quabbin Reservoir is the largest inland body of water in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was built between 1930 and 1939. …
The construction of this massive reservoir displaced people and whole communities. So what?
They found new places to live, were assisted with moving to comparable homes and were reasonably compensated for their losses. Of course their losses were massive – whole settlements disbanded – but as Mr. Spock said in Star Trek, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”
In the US Virgin islands, if you dig deeply enough to try to establish a well, you run into saltwater. Oh yeah, so what do you do as an alternative? You build catchments out of concrete slabs or pavement on the sides of sloped inclines and catch the water in slightly slanted troughs at bottom to run into pipes connected to the troughs and further connected to tanks.
What else? The rainwater in these islands is collected on roofs and runs off of slanted gutters and down into cisterns. Our own in the house that my father built near St. Thomas held up to 30,000 gals. Yup, and we were always giving away water to others since there was always plenty even in dry times. Nice clean water, too! Sanitary and pure!
Look, I’m not gloating that I live near the Quabbin and other similar huge water bodies that were deliberately built. I’m not feeling superior in that my father had the foresight to collect enough water so that he could give many others a huge supply of it, which made me so happy since we didn’t need it – such a huge supply.
My intent is different. It’s to encourage people to hire an engineer or a few, build these water collection means or other ones, have everyone in your community donate an hour a week to build them and get them up and running. It’s needed NOW since we are running out of time to secure sufficient freshwater supplies for the future.
The children would love the task of helping and it could even be part of a school initiative. Imagine about what it could teach with hands-on learning about planning, physics, water, community support, mathematics, language development, science and more, including physical fitness supported with a purpose behind it rather than just the use of workout machines or sports! … Why, children’s involvement could even help them create poems, stories (supporting language and literature development). It could also lead into art as they paint, draw, make collages and sculpt, etc. Oh heck, if you don’t have clay, they can sculpt with dirt or soap – both of which I did as a child since I was intent on depicting the subjects that stood out as most important in the world around me.
Why, it could not only give them an education across the curriculum, but also empower them to develop the values and fierce intentions to support their communities. So it’s a win-win all the way around with an eye to the future.
I know very well about these sorts of furtherance. I helped build the Virgin Islands home and every time that the water that we collected for others with a water deficit, I felt joy. So please give your children the same opportunities. Help them to extend their beings and education in service. The value is immeasurable as it is to adults, who realize their connections to others in their local vicinity, their communities, and even further away!
Certainly the effort is better than this deplorable situation wherein sharing is not an option:
The world water deficit is a recent phenomenon. It is a product of the tripling of water demand over the last half-century, which was accelerated…
I can’t imagine serving such water to my children, nor drinking it, myself. I can’t imagine the excruciating agony of an African eleven year old getting a huge worm, with around a quarter of an inch circumference, in her leg from a bad water supply in which its egg existed.
It had to be extracted from an incision in her leg a few inches a day without anesthesia. Its head could not be chopped off or the rest of its body would putrefy and rot in her body and kill her.
So she had to, day after day, endure its presence and gradual removal by a healthcare professional. Brave girl as the extraction clamp bore down on its head and pulled a little at a time with agonizing pain while she day after day felt it wiggle. … I watched part of this horrifying removal event in a film at the American Museum of Natural History.
Nope, I couldn’t watch it all. I had to walk away. Too awful to endure!
Put another way, the film was simply too distressing to see in full. It became too disturbing and terrible to watch. The girl’s torture and the medical specialist’s necessary actions deeply bothered me.
Anyone with a strong sense of empathy and compassion would respond the same way. Yet this makes it all the more imperative that we develop safe and adequate water sources.
A girl grimaces as a health worker extracts a parasitic worm from her …
A young girl has an adult worm removed. This painful process often takes weeks
Yet, the film of the brave afflicted girl also reminded me, despite my personal distress, of our duty to try to ensure that we all have an acceptable water supply available for us all – people, animals and plants. So let’s get cracking. Time to seriously and collectively work on the water problem – even if you live in a very water rich region like mine!
After all, we’re all in this together – the people, the leopards forced to eat their babies to stay alive, the monkeys, which attack men who bring their goats to diminishing putrid pools of water, the plants and … indeed, our whole planet! So please rise to the occasion!
Please start to address this issue. Please struggle to find solutions and band together to find them, such as the Quabbin way, the Virgin Island way or another way! Otherwise, it will be much worse than a child having a long white worm pulled from her leg. Not intending to alarm you, but, with an alarmed sense in myself, I can guarantee that it will be worse.
Sally Dugman is a writer in MA. USA.