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The Rising Value of Water – Blue Gold

Why Drinkable Water is Increasingly Scarce and soon to be a Very Expensive Resource

The American West, for instance, faces immediate shortages and currently grapples with dwindling fresh water supplies and growing populations. According to a report published in 2009 by the nonprofit Pacific Institute, about 2.4 billion people live in water-stressed countries, where non-polluted drinking water is increasingly hard to come by. In India, entire villages depend on deliveries of fresh water for their survival. And for the first time, American companies began seriously exploring the idea of exporting fresh water to parched foreign customers in 2010. If the 20th century was characterized by the rise of black gold as the world’s premiere commodity, water is poised to assume that mantle in the 21st. Already dubbed “blue gold” and “the oil of the 21st century”, water may well supplant oil as the precious commodity that various parties invest in, trade and fight over in coming decades.

Water is something we take more or less for granted. In the developed world it is literally at our fingertips, virtually anywhere, at any time. Understandably, this has encouraged a certain laissez-faire attitude about the use — and overuse — of water in our society. We may need to begin rethinking things. For starters, we’d be well-advised to shore-up the infrastructure needed to deliver water safely and reliably. Another would be conservation. Amazingly, it was not until 1972, with the passage of the landmark Clean Water Act, that the United States took the first significant steps towards protecting the purity of this utterly essential resource. Although legislation regarding the dumping of pollutants into water supplies was enacted in 1948, the Clean Water Act greatly expanded and reorganized that initial mandate. Despite all this regulation of water quality, almost assuredly your tap water is not of high quality and over time will impair your health. Consider these few issues:

  • The New York Times reported that in 2007, 2008 and 2009, more than 9,400 of the 25,000 U.S. sewage systems have violated the law by dumping untreated or partially treated human waste, chemicals and other hazardous materials into rivers, lakes and other waterways.
  • Some natural lakes and bodies of water are now either approaching “dead”, unable to support life, or are dead. And these dead bodies of water continue to be the source of drinking water for millions of people!
  • Male frogs and bass are now found in nature with ovaries growing on their testes, and seven year-old girls are now reaching sexual maturity. Scientists have linked both of these phenomenon to the estrogen mimicking hormones now commonly found in our lakes, streams and drinking supplies.
  • Nearly every municipal water supply also has fluoride (a highly toxic poison) added during water treatment, which is detrimental to your health. Europeans have known for many years that fluoride is toxic and have long since removed it from their water supplies, but it still is used in the United States.
  • And then there are disinfection byproducts, or DBPs. If you have not heard of DBPs before, you need to pay close attention as it turns out that DBPs, not chlorine, are responsible for nearly all the toxic effects of chlorinated water. Chlorine by itself is relatively harmless, but its side effects, by producing DBPs, cause nearly all of the problems — including reproductive disorders and cancer.

Water may seem abundant but it is not. Fresh water accounts for only a tiny percentage of the water on Earth. It has been estimated that only 2.5% of the water on earth is fresh water. The rest is salt water.

earth water 150x150 The Rising Value of Water   Blue GoldBut even these statistics are misleading. In reality, less than 1% of the fresh water on earth is accessible; the rest is trapped in glaciers and icecaps, or in soil or deep underground reservoirs where it remains unobtainable. Water stress is expected to continue increasing as global population climbs, especially in developing countries, where growth is often fastest and supplies are already strained. While you cannot bring dead water back to life, you can install filtration systems to help protect your family from toxins otherwise likely in your tap water. We suggest you do so and take care to regular maintain such systems.

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