Here in North America, we too often take for granted our supply of good potable water. What’s more, some corporations and industries use and pollute water that should be used for sustaining us, the human race. Koch Industries and corporations that frack come to mind immediately. Have a look at what is happening in Cape Town, South Africa. Want to know more about not having potable water? Ask the people of Flint, Michigan who were hosed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder and the state government when its water was discovered to be unfit for human consumption back in 2014, and it is still not fixed. Their water is still unfit with a stalled, or non existent, Republican infrastructure plan.
From Maclean’s — Cape Town is in a race against time. Dams are draining. People and businesses face fines for wasting water. Construction companies are building desalination plants and a recycling centre, while drilling to access ground water.
South Africa’s second biggest city is going through one of the worst droughts in recent decades, with lack of rain and a surge in population rapidly depleting the municipal water reserves. In a few months, it could run out, bringing about what the city has apocalyptically dubbed “Day Zero”—when officials are forced to turn off the tap because there’s just not enough water left in the reservoirs to keep the system running.
A security officer directs residents as they fill water bottles and containers at the Newlands natural water spring in Cape Town (Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
If it happens, a city known for its rich and complex history, diverse population and lush national parks will start sending its four million residents to about 200 collection points, where each person will be allotted 25 litres of tap water per day. That’s just 10 litres more than the minimum amount the World Health Organization says people need to survive in an emergency.
The city’s mayor Patricia de Lille has asked residents to conserve water in any way they can—while imposing strict rules on how, and what amount of, water can be used. The city is now at level six restrictions: No washing cars. No watering gardens or lawns. No topping up swimming pools.
Please read through for an interesting article.
Ask someone in California or Texas, or any number of places other that are experiencing drought, what water restrictions are like. Here in Metro Vancouver, we have had water restrictions during the hot summer months in the passed 5 years because the reservoirs have not filled up with the melting winter mountain snow packs. A lack of water, either from rain or snow pack melting, also leads to drier forests and a greater likelihood of rampant forest fires. Ask British Columbians, Albertans, Californians and Texans what living through wildfires is like. And they are not the only ones in North America, unfortunately. And what is the biggest contributor to the water shortage? Climate change!
How serious is this plight, this drought? This from the Water Encyclopedia:
Water is required for the maintenance of life; researchers have investigated the absolute minimum amount of water required for human survival. Regular intake of water is needed to maintain a person’s water balance, as water lost through normal activities must be restored. The minimum water requirement for replacement purposes, for an “average” person, has been estimated to be approximately 3 liters (3.2 quarts) per day, given average temperate climate conditions.
In addition to drinking requirements, water is traditionally used for sanitation purposes for the disposal of human waste. Effective waste disposal has many health benefits as it serves to control the spread of disease. Humans also have basic hygiene needs for personal washing and bathing waters, and for food preparation. These hygiene-related uses of water also have many health benefits.
That 3 litres per day is for drinking only! Who reading this drinks 3 litres of water per day? I can say I do most days, but I don’t drink juices, and rarely drink milk. We should not include sodas, coffee or tea in this 3 litres . . . it is 3 litres of water, not 3 litres of liquids.
Of course, we often drink bottled water which environmental groups regularly “poo-poo” us. I drink bottled water, both plain and carbonated (no sugars or sweeteners in either). I return the bottles for recycling without fail. The deposit fee that I paid when I bought the water is then saved and goes towards my monthly hair cut.
Maclean’s published an article on 31 March 2016 on how banning bottled water can backfire.
If anything, it could turn out to be a boon for the bottled sugar-water business instead, and potentially fill trash bins with even more plastic bottles.
That’s the finding of a researcher who studied what happened at the University of Vermont after the school banned the sale of plastic water bottles on its campus in 2013. …
Yet in the months following the ban, students didn’t stop reaching for the plastic bottle … Instead, they consumed even more. …
Rather than like up at the new water fountains with their reusable bottles, students reached instead for bottled soda, juices, or sugar-free drinks, which often use thicker plastic than plastic water bottles.
In my opinion, it is not so much that plastic water bottles are a problem, people’s attitudes are the problem. Too many people do not recycle the empty bottles preferring instead to throw them away in the trash where they no not decompose. In my area, when purchasing a bottle of water, a recycling fee of $.04 is charged plus a refundable bottle deposit of $.05 for 1 litre or smaller bottles. These deposit fees are more for larger bottles. The deposit fee also applies to soda bottles, juice bottles and tetra packs of juice. This has not eliminated the “bottle in the trash” problem, but it has helped. People have to take responsibility for their attitude towards recycling.
The original Maclean’s article above makes mention of desalination as a way of converting sea water to potable water for human consumption. There are various desalination plants around the world. This is a plant in Dubai.
The US government even has a web page about desalination, if Trump has not yet removed it because it is scientific!
… The “simple” hurdle that must be overcome to turn seawater into fresh water is to remove the dissolved salt in seawater. …
What do we mean by “saline water?” Water that is saline contains significant amounts (referred to as “concentrations”) of dissolved salts. In this case, the concentration is the amount (by weight) of salt in water, as expressed in “parts per million” (ppm). If water has a concentration of 10,000 ppm of dissolved salts, then one percent of the weight of the water comes from dissolved salts.
Here are our parameters for saline water:
- Fresh water – Less than 1,000 ppm
- Slightly saline water – From 1,000 ppm to 3,000 ppm
- Moderately saline water – From 3,000 ppm to 10,000 ppm
- Highly saline water – From 10,000 ppm to 35,000 ppm
By the way, ocean water contains about 35,000 ppm of salt.
Have a look at this interesting page . . . but don’t tell Trump lest he order it removed!
The one thing we have some control over is how we, as individuals and corporations, use fresh water. How about starting with no fracking! The amount of water used is incredibly high, and that water cannot be used for anything afterwards. Make a list of ways you can help starting with fixing dripping taps; taking shorter showers; not sprinkling the lawn (if such is not banned already) for so long and so often; don’t wash the car so much.
Here is a petition from the Centre for Biological Diversity posted by Cher on Care2. For those not familiar with Care2, just click on Cher’s post’s title and it will take you directly to the petition.