March 23, 2012 - Peggy Knapp of the Freshwater Society joined us to talk about the water we drink and how we can be good stewards.
Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink. - The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Every year in March, the United Nations declares a World Water Day. It’s easy to take water for granted when it comes out of the facet, but many do not have that luxury. As freshwater becomes more and more scarce throughout the world, some believe that future wars will be fought over water. For example, much of Northern Africa is dependent on the waters of the Nile River to survive. The source of the river is in Sudan which recently saw South Sudan split. If tensions were to rise, Egypt may find itself involved in a conflict if its water supply is threatened.
Instances closer to home highlight the need to preserve our water sources as well. Droughts brought on by contentious management of resources have brought long lasting droughts to states around the US. Georgia and areas in California have suffered through droughts that have started to affect both commercial and private use. Crops are withering and dying, fountains are running dry, and lawns are turning brown. Even Minnesota is currently experiencing a drought, though ours is not expected to last. Even so, its not difficult to imagine what life would be look if we don’t prudently and effectively preserve our water sources.
Many choices that affect our water supply aren’t as obvious at first. Cities around the country have begun taxing or banning the use of plastic bags when shopping because plastic bags are the most widespread form of litter and they can damage equipment in water treatment facilities. To produce a pound of meat requires far more gallons of water than a pound of vegetables. Chloride in road salt can runoff into lakes and streams and kills local wildlife.
The good news is that personal changes and policy choices can ensure that we continue to have access to clean and robust water. Peggy Knapp of the Freshwater Society will join us to explain different initiatives by her organization. Like most issues, its a mixture of education and action that will keep our water pure for generations to come.