We Can Survive Without Oil . . . But We Can’t Live Without Water
“The U.S. population grows by one person every 15 seconds. The total amount of water grows by one gallon never.” Will Jernigan
These days, it seems as though you can’t go more than a day without seeing a national news headline about the price of oil . . . or the factors that determine the price of oil . . . or the possible future price of oil.
And what about natural gas? How many times have you heard or read the word “fracking” within the past year? Probably more times than you can count. The price of oil and gas affects all of us but when was the last time you saw something in the mainstream media about the impending scarcity of water?
For example, Sao Paulo, Brazil has approximately 60 days left before its water supply runs out. There are over 12 million people living there. Quoting a recent article on the BBC, “they are sleepwalking into a water crisis” while the government has been too slow to acknowledge the problem.
As another example, the level 4 drought in California: towns in California are also running out of water. This is not a problem that exists “somewhere else in the world.” Even with severe water restrictions over the past three years there, the rich and famous are not heeding the warnings to conserve. Oprah Winfrey has water trucked into her 40 acre estate over and above her allotted water ration. The swanky Biltmore Four Seasons was fined nearly $50,000 for using a million gallons of water over its allotment in one month.
You are probably well aware of the extreme weather patterns—including severe drought—that have occurred globally on a more consistent basis during the past several years. These patterns have not followed any discernable pattern, and as a result, they are not predictable. This phenomenon only underscores the urgency of the water scarcity situation. Although many scientists point to the deforestation of the Amazon contributing to climate change that is contributing to the severe drought in Brazil, nothing is being done to slow this from happening.
As an executive recruiter in the civil engineering niche, I read these articles more than most people because it’s important in my field of work. It should be a priority for everyone whether they are a civil engineer designing stormwater retention ponds or nurses caring for the sick, or farmers or factory workers or accountants. The wrong priorities can have dire consequences.
We can survive without oil . . . but we can’t live without water.
What are your thoughts? Without sounding like Chicken Little, what can we do to continue to raise awareness of this issue?