California’s water shortage problem may have been just a business venture. In March 2014, NASA revealed shocking news about how California has about a year of stored water. The news though did not come as a startling revelation for many, considering the fact that California has long been suffering from almost four years of drought.
The question after NASA’s assumption was, what to do next? California’s population is quite huge and it is dependent on agriculture. Many people are concerned if the drought situation is a made up propaganda or a real and natural event.
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The history of the American West suggests that the region has long been suffering from dry spells throughout the years and this has led to the formation of water rights to ensure these regions get water from other states in such times but there has never been such a severe drought in the past 500 years.
The Water Levels Now
According to NASA’s Jay Famiglieti who works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is also a professor of Earth Science at the Caltech University stated that the total amount of water that is stored at the Sacramento and San Joaquin River was 34 million acres below the normal amount in 2014. That amounts to nearly 1.5 times the water capacity of Lake Mead which is America’s largest reservoir of water. According to NASA all of this could be avoided with proper decision making but California chose to ignore the crisis.
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Why Did the Problem Arise?
Some of the solutions that California could have adopted, according to NASA, include banning of fracking using freshwater, using turbine technology in oceans and also creation of water using moisture. And these are only just some of the possibilities. Most importantly, California did not create sufficient water reservoirs to avert such a crisis.
The Commercialization of Water
And then there is the allegation that climate is being controlled and that’s why the U.S. Eastern coast remains cooler, even though the temperatures reach record highs in the other parts. The sanction of a $68 billion dollar high speed railway system than concentrating on this problem of drought that is imminent just tells us that water is going to be big business soon.
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The focus should have instead been on making water available. There are countless countries that have turned to purifying even waste water to use it as drinking water. One of the biggest examples is Namibia and they have been doing it for decades. Countries like Singapore and Egypt use the most advanced of technologies to recycle their waste water and they are firmly against water wastage. From desalination of water to purifying sea water, there are many methods that can be applied. In fact, recent studies have been able to develop specially designed synthetic membranes that can remove salt and other impurities from sea water without needing by evaporation techniques without using electricity.
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Water today is a $245 billion dollar industry, and as Goldman Sachs pointed out in 2008, is the petroleum of the next century. A water shortage today seems more of a threat than even food shortages. That water is increasingly being seen as a resource for earning money instead of quenching thirst, is evident by the actions of companies. Financial firms insist of privatizing water supplies and have even introduced water price indexes.
One of the biggest blunders California did was allowing companies like Nestle to continue drawing freshwater at only a couple cents per gallon, which they went on to sell it for $16 per gallon. It only suggests that the water scarcity problem is a big business venture that has turned out to be highly profitable.