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Be Concerned, Be Very Concerned
In 1950, the US took 12 trillion gallons of water from the ground; by 1980 the figure had more than doubled and is still growing at an alarming rate. The Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted at a rate of 12 billion cubic meters (420 billion feet or 9,729,000 acre feet) per year, a total discharge to date of a volume equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado rivers (4,000 cubic feet). per second).
Time magazine reported, “The Ogallala Aquifer is being drained! Some estimates say it will dry up in as little as 25 years. Many farmers in the Texas High Plains, who rely heavily on groundwater sources, are now turning away from irrigated agriculture as they become aware of the dangers of over-pumping.” The aquifer stretches from South Dakota through Nebraska, where two-thirds of the water is located, to Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. For the past three decades, farmers have pumped water from the Ogallala as if it were inexhaustible. that is not replenished is nearly equal to the flow of the Colorado River.A report by the engineering firm, Camp, Dresser and McKee, estimates that by the year 2020, about 5.1 million acres of irrigated land will dry up.
Today, the American Southwest is the most irrigated area in the world, turning the desert into a veritable Garden of Eden. However, this heavy irrigation can destroy the soil by leaching salts. The 1,400-mile-long Colorado River is the lifeblood of 11 million people from Denver to San Diego. In fact, today it irrigates 1.5 million hectares of prime agricultural land. This magnificent river is slowly being poisoned by salt build-up from saline western soil runoff and salt concentration, caused by evaporation and increased use of the river in the seven states it serves. The salt level has reached more than 800 milligrams per liter and is expected to reach 1200 m/l in the near future. The EPA’s maximum safe level for drinking water is 500 parts per million, more than 500 ppm is considered unsuitable for drinking. (This translates to a teaspoon of salt per gallon of water.) With groundwater sources depleting, less precipitation falls on land and more in the ocean, due to shifting air currents and global changes in weather patterns.
WHAT COULD BE WORSE?
As if the dwindling water supply wasn’t bad enough, we are now rapidly destroying what little water we have left with hazardous waste. Toxic chemicals at thousands of hazardous waste sites across the country continue to leak into the nation’s underground, contaminating the land and groundwater and poisoning the air. The U.S. General Accounting Office says the Super Fund program will need to clear more than 10,000 positions, which at this point seems like an insurmountable task. Six billion tons of solid and hazardous waste are generated in the United States each year. American industry releases 400 million pounds of toxins into our waterways each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A recent study predicts that, at the current pace, it will take between 30 and 35 years and $253 billion to clean up most of the nation’s known and newly discovered toxic waste sites. The EPA predicts that it will need to remediate at least 294,000 hazardous waste sites – and that number could reach as many as 355,000.
EPA in implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act has failed to establish national primary drinking water regulations for organic chemicals. Since 1975, the EPA has issued only a very short list of maximum contaminant levels (MCls). The list includes several pesticides and herbicides, a small number of inorganic chemicals, a standard for coliform bacteria, turbidity, radionuclides, and since 1979, trihalomethanes. A total of 130 priority pollutants.
The staggering facts are that there are currently more than 100,000 chemicals released into our environment, with approximately 1,000 additional chemicals added each year. Yet the EPA only tests about three percent of them. In short, municipal water utilities are required to test for levels of only 130 or so chemicals when there could be hundreds or even thousands of chemicals present in some parts per million or billion that could be potentially dangerous to humans. How many complex chemical combinations are possible with a list of 100,000 individual chemicals?
Here’s an example of how terrifying the answer could be. Water companies add chlorine to water as a much-needed disinfectant to kill viruses and numerous water-born bacteria. Most city water contains a certain degree of humic acid created by the decomposition of plant and animal matter. In addition to chlorine being a known carcinogen, when chlorine comes into contact with humic acid, four other individual carcinogens called trihalomethanes (THMs) are produced. Combine just two and you get four! Now imagine the possibilities of mixing 10 grand into your drinking water.
Water is the single most important element for sustaining life, second only to oxygen. We can live 40 days without food, but only about 6 days without water. Water serves three main purposes in our bodies. 1. Controls body temperature; 2. It carries nutrients from the food we eat to every cell of our body; and 3. Water replaces bodily fluids such as blood plasma, lymph, digestive juices, bile, etc. It washes and bathes every cell of the body, washing away and carrying away wastes and toxic poisons. If water is so important to our health and survival, shouldn’t we be drinking the healthiest water possible? What would that be, you ask? Distilled water.
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