The Coming Water Crises

“America is using up water like there’s no tomorrow.” This is the headline of a comprehensive article in yesterday’s online New York Times. Imagine someone who spends a lot more than he makes each year, but makes up the shortfall by withdrawing a big chunk of money from his bank account. That’s what America has been doing with water, the bank account being natural underground reservoirs (aquifers) that accumulated water over thousands of years.

This is a bigger problem than the nation’s thirty-one trillion dollar national debt. The government can borrow or print money, but it can’t borrow or print water. Major water crises lie ahead. “In some places, the aquifer has fallen to less than 10 percent of capacity, the Arkansas Department of State warned this year. Arkansas produces roughly half the nation’s rice, a water-intensive crop.”

Humans are smarter than other animals, but not smart enough to plan far ahead.