Archive for Water Shortage

Arctic Ice: Thinner than ever

Global warming strikes again. This is a long alleviated issue that we must get control of. Arctic Ice has melted to an all-time low as of  9/16/12, shattering the previous record set in 2007. The worst part is that in 2007, the all-time low record was shattered. The ice has shrunk from covering 1.61 million miles to 1.32 million miles. This means that the burning of fossil fuels is penetrating our protective ozone layer and our oceans are heating up. Sea levels could rise as much as 20 feet. At the rate we are headed, the ice could be melted completely by 2050. It is imperative that we mandate clean energy and save our planet.

Below you can see the state of the Arctic ice is a fraction of what is used to be. The yellow line outlines the size of the ice recorded from 1979-2000.

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Spicewood Beach, Texas: Dry As A Bone

Water delivery truck at Spicewood Beach, Texas/Photo: Ben Sklar/NY Times

Dried up Lake Travis at Spicewood Beach, Texas/Photo: Jeff Heimsath/StateImpact, TX

Because of a weak La Nina weather pattern that results in below average rainfall, a very real drama is playing out in the small community of Spicewood Beach, Texas, because it’s the first town in Texas to literally run out of water.

Located 45 miles northwest of the state capital of Austin, Spicewood Beach is suffering from the worst drought since the 1940s and 1950s, with record low rainfall of just 14.88 inches in 2011.

With a La Nina weather pattern in place, where surface temperatures are cooler in the Pacific, which creates drier, warmer air in the southern states, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports that Central Texas has been suffering from extreme drought conditions since last summer.

The water in nearby Lake Travis, which was once prime waterfront property, has dropped to a record low, which means the ground water supplies have dried up. As a result, the 1,100 residents of the Texas town are without running water.

The 129,000 gallon water storage tank level has been dropping one foot a day and is projected to be empty in the next few weeks. Currently, water is trucked in four times daily carrying 4,000 gallons of water from neighboring communities.

According to the National Coalition of Food and Agriculture, drought conditions cause more damage than floods and have extreme effects on the enviornment, by putting stress on plant and animal resources, creating a negative impact and disrupting the ecosystem, affecting ranchers, agriculture, residents and livestock.

The Texas Forest Service reports that the drought has destroyed 500 million trees, or 10% of the state’s total.

With extreme water conservation measures in place, the estimated cost in damage is $5.2 billion.

According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, recent storms have brought some relief, but the area still suffers from extreme drought conditions.

To learn more about the dry weather conditions, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at: www.noaa.org

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Earth Day 2011

This year, Earth Day landed on April 22nd and provided people opportunities to take action and participate in helping to preserve the planet.

Earth Day Network gave people the opportunity to register and pledge an act of green for their “A Billion Acts of Green” campaign on their website. EDN is trying to prove that real change can occur if millions of people commit to their actions. So far, a little over a million people have made a pledge.

“Our family will use less water, plant a tree and grow a food garden,” “I pledge to use less styrofoam, as well as recycle all paper and plastic products…,” and “I will bring my own reusable shopping bags to the store,” are all examples of pledges people have proposed.

Pledges range by topic from advocacy, energy, transportation, and water. EDN’s reasoning behind this campaign helps raise awareness on the way we treat our planet. It is true, also, that if millions commit to their actions, then maybe a big difference can be made. What do you pledge?

Earth Day photo from space. Photo from National Geographic.

To learn more about Earth Day or how to make a contribution, visit Earth Day Network.

To view more photos of Earth Day, visit National Geographic.

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Water Shortage From Local to Global

As global water supplies are diminishing, demand is rising in energy and agriculture production. However, scientists warn that demands for water will spike, while catastrophic floods and droughts will occur within the next 40 years.

In Michael Comte’s article, “Scientists Warn of Water Woes,” the amount of money spent on water consumption, flood damage, improvements in infrastructure and distribution, and water in agriculture is expected to rise to a trillion dollars annually by 2020.

This means that by 2020, approximately $10,000,000,000 will have been spent on water.

This year, water experts and stakeholders are meeting in Canada for the Canada Water Resources 2011 conference to share ideas and tools on how to help other countries face the uncertain future of water.

According to the Canada Water Network site, while water demand will exceed supply in many countries by 40%, one-third of humanity will only have half the water they need for life’s basics.

CWN director, Margaret Catley-Carlson warns that we need to brace for one of humanity’s greatest shortages.

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