by Michael Snyder
March 4, 2013
The world is rapidly running out of clean water.
Some of the largest lakes and rivers on the
globe are being depleted at a very frightening pace, and many of the most
important underground aquifers that we depend on to irrigate our crops will
soon be gone.
At this point, approximately 40 percent of the entire
population of the planet has little or no access to clean water, and it is
being projected that by 2025 two-thirds of humanity will live in
But most Americans are not too concerned about
all of this because they assume that North America has more fresh water than
anyone else does. And actually they would be right about that, but the truth
is that even North America is rapidly running out of water and it is going
to change all of our lives.
Today, the most important underground water
source in America, the Ogallala Aquifer, is rapidly running dry. The most
important lake in the western United States, Lake Mead, is rapidly running
The most important river in the western United
States, the Colorado River, is rapidly running dry. Putting our heads in the
sand and pretending that we are not on the verge of an absolutely horrific
water crisis is not going to make it go away. Without water, you cannot grow
crops, you cannot raise livestock and you cannot support modern cities.
As this global water crisis gets worse, it is
going to affect every single man, woman and child on the planet. I encourage
you to keep reading and learn more. The U.S. intelligence community understands what
According to one shocking government report that was released
last year, the global need for water will exceed the global supply of water
by 40 percent by the year 2030...
This sobering message emerges from the first
U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of
Global Water Security. The document predicts that by 2030
humanity's "annual global water requirements" will exceed "current
sustainable water supplies" by forty percent.
Oh, but our scientists will find a solution to
our problems long before then, won't they?
But what if they don't?
Most Americans tend to think of a "water crisis"
as something that happens in very dry places such as Africa or the Middle
East, but the truth is that almost the entire western half of the United
States is historically a very dry place.
The western U.S. has been hit very hard by
drought in recent years, and many communities are on the verge of having to
make some very hard decisions. For example, just look at what is happening
to Lake Mead.
Scientists are projecting that Lake Mead has a
50 percent chance of running dry by the year 2025. If that happens, it will
mean the end of Las Vegas as we know it. But the problems will not be
limited just to Las Vegas. The truth is that if Lake Mead runs dry, it will
be a major disaster for that entire region of the country.
This was explained in a recent article
by Alex Daley...
Way before people run out of drinking water,
something else happens: When Lake Mead falls below 1,050 feet, the
Hoover Dam's turbines shut down - less than four years from now, if the
current trend holds - and in Vegas the lights start going out.
Ominously, these water woes are not confined
to Las Vegas. Under contracts signed by President Obama in December
2011, Nevada gets only 23.37% of the electricity generated by the Hoover
Dam. The other top recipients: Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California (28.53%); state of Arizona (18.95%); city of Los Angeles
(15.42%); and Southern California Edison (5.54%).
You can always build more power plants, but
you can't build more rivers, and the mighty Colorado carries the
lifeblood of the Southwest. It services the water needs of an area the
size of France, in which live 40 million people.
In its natural state, the river poured 15.7
million acre-feet of water into the Gulf of California each year. Today,
twelve years of drought have reduced the flow to about 12 million
acre-feet, and human demand siphons off every bit of it; at its mouth,
the riverbed is nothing but dust.
Nor is the decline in the water supply
important only to the citizens of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.
It's critical to the whole country.
The Colorado is the sole source of water for
southeastern California's Imperial Valley, which has been made into one
of the most productive agricultural areas in the US despite receiving an
average of three inches of rain per year.
Are you starting to get an idea of just how
serious this all is?
But it is not just our lakes and our rivers that
are going dry.
We are also depleting our groundwater at a very
frightening pace as a recent
Science Daily article discussed...
Three results of the new study are
First, during the most recent drought in
California's Central Valley, from 2006 to 2009, farmers in the south
depleted enough groundwater to fill the nation's largest human-made
reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas - a level of groundwater depletion
that is unsustainable at current recharge rates.
Second, a third of the groundwater depletion
in the High Plains occurs in just 4% of the land area.
And third, the researchers project that if
current trends continue some parts of the southern High Plains that
currently support irrigated agriculture, mostly in the Texas Panhandle
and western Kansas, will be unable to do so within a few decades.
In the United States we have massive underground
aquifers that have allowed our nation to be the breadbasket of the world.
But once the water from those aquifers is gone,
it is gone for good. That is why what is happening to the Ogallala Aquifer
is so alarming. The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest sources of fresh
water in the world, and U.S. farmers use water from it to irrigate more than
15 million acres of crops each year.
Ogallala Aquifer covers more than 100,000
square miles and it sits underneath the states of Texas, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. Most
Americans have never even heard of it, but it is absolutely crucial to our
way of life.
Sadly, it is being drained at a rate that is almost
The following are some facts about the Ogallala
Aquifer and the growing water crisis that we are facing in the United
States. A number of these facts were taken
from one of my previous articles.
I think that you will agree that many of these
facts are quite alarming...
The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately
800 gallons per minute.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, "a
volume equivalent to two-thirds of the water in Lake Erie" has been
permanently drained from the Ogallala Aquifer since 1940.
Decades ago, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of approximately 240
feet, but today the average depth is
just 80 feet. In some areas of Texas, the water is gone completely.
Scientists are warning that nothing can be done to stop the depletion of the
Ogallala Aquifer. The ominous words
of David Brauer of the Ogallala Research Service should alarm us all...
According to a recent
National Geographic article, the average depletion rate of the Ogallala
Aquifer is picking up speed....
Even more worrisome, the draining of the
High Plains water account has picked up speed. The average annual
depletion rate between 2000 and 2007 was more than twice that during the
previous fifty years.
The depletion is most severe in the southern
portion of the aquifer, especially in Texas, where the water table
beneath sizeable areas has dropped 100-150 feet; in smaller pockets, it
has dropped more than 150 feet.
According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west
is now the driest that it has been
in 500 years.
Wildfires have burned millions of acres of vegetation in the central part of
the United States in recent years. For example, wildfires burned an
3.6 million acres in the state of Texas alone during 2011. This helps
set the stage for huge dust storms in the future.
Unfortunately, scientists tell us that it would be normal for extremely dry
conditions to persist in parts of western North America for decades.
following is from an article
in the Vancouver Sun...
But University of Regina
paleoclimatologist Jeannine-Marie St. Jacques says that decade-long
drought is nowhere near as bad as it can get.
St. Jacques and her colleagues have been
studying tree ring data and, at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science conference in Vancouver over the weekend, she
explained the reality of droughts.
"What we're seeing in the climate
records is these megadroughts, and they don't last a decade—they last 20
years, 30 years, maybe 60 years, and they'll be semi-continental in
expanse," she told the Regina Leader-Post by phone from Vancouver.
"So it's like what we saw in the Dirty
Thirties, but imagine the Dirty Thirties going on for 30 years. That's
what scares those of us who are in the community studying this data
Experts tell us that U.S. water bills are likely to soar in the coming
years. It is being projected that repairing and expanding our decaying
drinking water infrastructure will cost more than one trillion dollars over
the next 25 years, and as a result our water bills will likely
approximately triple over that time period.
Right now, the United States uses approximately
148 trillion gallons of fresh water a year, and there is no way that is
sustainable in the long run.
According to a U.S. government report,
36 states are already facing water shortages or will be facing water
shortages within the next few years.
Lake Mead supplies about 85 percent of the water to Las Vegas, and since
1998 the level of water in Lake Mead
has dropped by about 5.6 trillion gallons.
It has been estimated that the state of California only has
a 20 year supply of fresh water left.
It has been estimated that the state of New Mexico only has
a 10 year supply of fresh water left.
40 percent of all rivers in the United States and approximately
46 percent of all lakes in the United States have become so polluted
that they are are no longer fit for human use.
The 1,450 mile long Colorado River is a good
example of what we have done to our precious water supplies. It is probably
the most important body of water in the southwestern United States, and it
is rapidly dying.
The following is an excerpt from an outstanding
by Jonathan Waterman about how the once mighty Colorado River is rapidly
Fifty miles from the sea, 1.5 miles south of
the Mexican border, I saw a river evaporate into a scum of phosphates
and discarded water bottles.
This dirty water sent me home with feet so
badly infected that I couldn’t walk for a week. And a delta once
renowned for its wildlife and wetlands is now all but part of the
surrounding and parched Sonoran Desert.
According to Mexican scientists
whom I met with, the river has not flowed to the sea since 1998. If the
Endangered Species Act had any teeth in Mexico, we might have a chance
to save the giant sea bass (totoaba), clams, the Sea of Cortez shrimp
fishery that depends upon freshwater returns, and dozens of bird
So let this stand as an open invitation to
the former Secretary of the Interior and all water buffalos who insist
upon telling us that there is no scarcity of water here or in the
Leave the sprinklered green lawns outside the Aspen
conferences, come with me, and I’ll show you a Colorado River running
dry from its headwaters to the sea. It is polluted and compromised by
industry and agriculture. It is over-allocated, drought stricken, and
soon to suffer greatly from population growth.
If other leaders in our
administration continue the whitewash, the scarcity of knowledge and
lack of conservation measures will cripple a western civilization built
But of course North America is in far better
shape when it comes to fresh water than the rest of the world is.
In fact, in many areas of the world today water
has already become the most important issue.
The following are some incredible facts about
the global water crisis that is getting even worse with each passing day...
Total global water use
has quadrupled over the past 100 years, and it is now increasing faster
than it ever has been before.
Today, there are
1.6 billion people that live in areas of the globe that are considered
to be "water-stressed", and it is being projected that two-thirds of the
entire population of the globe will be experiencing "water-stressed"
conditions by the year 2025.
According to USAID,
one-third of the people on earth will be facing "severe" or "chronic"
water shortages by the year 2025.
Once upon a time, the Aral Sea was the 4th largest freshwater lake in the
entire world. At this point, it
less than 10 percent the size that it used to be, and it is being
projected that it will dry up completely by the year 2020.
If you can believe it, the flow of water along the Jordan River is down to
2 percent of its historic rate.
It is being projected that the demand for water in China will exceed the
by 25 percent by the year 2030.
According to the United Nations, the world is going to need at least
30 percent more fresh water by the year 2030.
Sadly, it is estimated that approximately
40 percent of the children living in Africa and India have had their
growth stunted due to unclean water and malnutrition.
Of the 60 million people added to the cities of the world each year, the
vast majority of them live in deeply impoverished areas
that have no sanitation facilities whatsoever.
It has been estimated that
75 percent of all surface water in India has been heavily contaminated
by human or agricultural waste.
according to one UN study on sanitation, far more people in India have
access to a cell phone than to a toilet.
8 seconds, somewhere in the world a child dies from drinking dirty
Due to a lack of water, Saudi Arabia has given up on trying
to grow wheat and will be 100 percent dependent on wheat imports
by the year 2016.
Each year in northern China, the water table drops by an average of
about one meter due to severe drought and over-pumping, and the size of
the desert increases by an area equivalent to the state of Rhode Island.
80 percent of the major rivers have become so horribly polluted that
they do not support any aquatic life at all at this point.
So is there any hope that the coming global
water crisis can be averted?
If not, what can we do to prepare?