essential for all dimensions of life. More than eighty countries, with
forty percent of the world’s population, are already facing water shortages,
while in this century the world’s population will double. The quality of water in rivers and
underground has deteriorated, due to pollution by waste and contaminants from
cities, industry and agriculture. Over
one billion people lack safe water, and three billion lack sanitation; eighty
per cent of infectious diseases are waterborne, killing millions of children
World Bank Institute
owe our children, and theirs—a sustainable future.
We owe our planet-home reasonable and responsible
behavior that complies with the laws of nature. As the most prolific
species on earth, we face harsh realities.
First question: what provides the most important aspect of human
existence? Answer: clean water!
The latest warning signs manifested at Lake Lanier, Georgia in November
2007. One reporter said to ABC’s World News Tonight anchor Charles
Gibson, “They need a lot of rain because they’re down to the last 36 days of
supply for the Atlanta area.”
“How much rain?” Gibson shot back.
“Four months of rain would be a good start,” the reporter said.
If ever a wake-up call, the vanishing waters of Lake Lanier portend water
shortages for five million people—today! Nonetheless, the Peach State
expects to grow from 8.2 million people in 2009 to 16.4 million by 2050.
Hello! Knock, knock! Anybody home?
February 21, 2008, anchor Brian Williams at NBC reported that Georgia
legislators wanted to extend that state’s northern border two miles north in
order to annex the Tennessee River. That would allow them to stick a big
pipe into a new water source.
As Goober of “Mayberry RFD” might say, “That’s like tryin’ to milk a cow while
sittin’ on a stool six feet away. ‘Bout the only thing you gonna’ get is a tail
swishin’ full of…well Sheriff Taylor, you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I know what ya’ mean Goob,” Andy said.
Two thousand miles west of Georgia, Charles Gibson on a February 8, 2008
broadcast, said, “Scientists say Lake Mead, which provides water for millions
in the west, expects to go dry by 2023. It’s caused by drought, climate
change and human population growth.”
Colorado State University Professor Neil S. Grigg, on February 17, 2008, in the
Denver Post, wrote, “Not a Drop to Spare.” He reported, “Colorado’s water supplies are
nearing their limits, and there is little hope for new sources. What’s
give you an idea of the depth of the West’s water crisis, Denver Post
journalist John Ingold wrote, “Ship the Mississippi River to Colorado”, March
3, 2009. Ingold interviewed Denver businessman
Gary Hausler who wants to build a $22.5 billion pipeline to suck water from Old
Man River over 1,000 miles from Denver and a mile up hill. Hausler said, “It’s saner than any other idea
the state’s come up with for meeting future water needs.”
“Flat-out dumb, stupid, inane, insane and ridiculous beyond
comprehension,” a reader responded. “What
happens when Colorado adds that next five million and then, 10 million and
after that, 20 million and more like California? What do these people use for brains…oatmeal?”
None of media reported that Georgia’s current population of
8.2 million would double to 16.4 million in four decades. Colorado
expects to double from 4.6 to 9.8 million and beyond. California expects
to add 20 million in 30 years. Never once did any of the experts pin the
needle on the population donkey! It makes you wonder; who made
hyper-population a sacred, untouchable cow? Why? Who do they expect
Growth and rampant
you may appreciate, ‘carrying capacity’ becomes the most important phrase in
our 21st century vocabulary. It entails the amount of human
and animal life a limited area of land can sustain in perpetuity.
As this population overload advances, we face major water dilemmas.
“While America remains in her ‘consensus trance’ brought on by decades of
unlimited growth and resources, her citizens cannot imagine water shortages,”
said James Howard Kunstler, author, The
Long Emergency. “The vast majority of the earth’s surface consists of
water, yet only three percent of that is fresh water.”
World Bank famously declared, “The wars of the twenty-first century will be
fought over water.”
Kunstler continued, “The United Nations identified three hundred zones around
the world that will be the sites of conflicts over water in the years
ahead. The great aquifers of North America, China and India are all
depleting rapidly due to aggressive irrigation…the rapidly diminishing supplies
of fresh water, especially in the heavily populated third world, also
exacerbate sanitation catastrophes, and prepare the stage for epidemic
disease. More than two million people worldwide die every year from
contaminated water. In the Maquiladora
zones of Mexico today, water is so scarce that babies and children drink
In a September 30, 2006 Rocky Mountain News report, Boulder, Colorado
scientists predicted grim drought forecasts for the West. To support
their claim, they used eighteen of the world’s most powerful computer climate
models. Martin Hoerling of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration said, “Climate change is moving us in the direction of a
perpetual state that is of the Dust Bowl type.”
Scientists expect increased evaporation and drier soils leading to more severe
and frequent droughts. Hoerling said, “Droughts could be 25 percent worse
than the 1930s Dust Bowl days.”
Who stands to suffer the greatest risk? In 2009, citizens of Utah,
Arizona, Nevada and California, downstream of the Colorado River, devour 13.5
million acre feet of the river. That equals millions upon millions of
people! Bob Reynolds of NOAA said, “We’re going to have to adapt our
survival strategies to coping with less water.”
Associated Press writer James McPherson on July 30, 2006 wrote a piece for the
Denver Post, “Without Rain, Dakotas Dry Up.” He reported, “Fields
of wheat, durum and barley in the Dakotas this summer will never end up as
pasta or bread…what is left is hot winds blowing clouds of dirt from dried-out
More than 60 percent of the United States suffered
abnormally dry or drought conditions in the summer of 2006. While I
traveled 20,300 miles through 48 states in June, July and August of that year,
I saw burned up corn and pigmy crops from lack of water. The drought stretched
from Georgia to Arizona and from Montana to Wisconsin.
Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 2009, “The West is hurtling toward a water crisis.”
Bernard DeVoto said, "The future of
the West hinges on whether it can defend itself against itself."
Will America experience commensurate rainfall to provide food and water for
that added 100 million? Will we be able to feed and water our 306
million already in the USA? Can science produce miracle crops that grow
Emphatic answer: no!
According to Mike Matz, “Losing Spaces”, Denver Post, December 23, 2007,
“American farmland and wetlands vanish at 6,000 acres per day, which equals
2.19 million acres annually for new malls, highways and housing. Ground
water stores cannot recharge.”
Along with lack of water, we degrade water quality. Californians buy more
filtered water than anywhere else in America. Why? They can’t
provide enough clean water to their 37.5 million residents. What about
polluted and ‘chemicalized’ water run-off? We spray crops, inject
insecticides and apply herbicides onto millions of acres of farmland. It
seeps into our groundwater and runs into our rivers. The Mississippi
River relentlessly spews millions of gallons of fertilizer and chemically
poisoned water into the Gulf of Mexico that creates a 10,000 square mile dead
zone where few fish or native marine life can survive. Every river
running out of the United States, and most industrialized nations, carries
enormous amounts of poisons. Acid rain from toxic air pollution falls
with every rainstorm.
With blinders securely in place, we pursue rampant population growth with
no concern toward future generations. Big surprise—people need
water to survive.
The World Health Organization
reported in 2006, "Thirty-five percent of humanity doesn't have access to
clean drinking water." For a quick reality check, that’s more than
two billion people. Is America immune to water shortages?
States’ growing water problems
Short answer: no!
"Is a multibillion-dollar tax hike that could
boost water bills as much as 50 percent again hanging over New York City?"
said New York Post writer Carl Campanile. "The
threat comes from the impact of three large upstate real-estate development
projects bordering reservoirs that feed the city's drinking-water supply."
Campanile reported—the state's watershed
inspector general, Robert Tierney, raised red flags over these projects:
* A 2,000-acre Catskill Park resort
complex surrounding Belleayre Mountain Ski Center could pollute the Ashakon and
* A 273-unit housing development and mall
in Putnam County could increase pollution in the Croton Reservoir.
* A 104-lot subdivision - also in Putnam -
could have a deleterious effect on the Muscott Reservoir.
threatens drinking water throughout the U.S.
Humans and wildlife stand at risk.
Campanile said, "Pollution, sure to
be generated by the developments, likely will prompt the federal
Environmental Protection Agency to force New York City to build a
water-purification complex costing billions to construct and hundreds of
millions annually to operate.
"These costs would be passed directly
to property owners. That would mean hugely inflated water-tax bills
for single-family homeowners - particularly in residential Queens and
Campanile continued, "Even worse
would be the impact on owners of rental properties. Unlike electricity or
gas, there is no way to effectively measure per-apartment water use in a
single-meter building. Thus, landlords would be stuck with the full
burden of higher water and sewage rates—while being severely restrained by rent
regulation from passing the costs along. This could drive marginal
properties into bankruptcy."
Former New York Governor Spitzer, who lost
his job because of one too many visits for ‘dance lessons’ at late night
bordellos, said, "I'll be neutral while trying to negotiate a compromise
between the Catskills’ developers and the city's interests."
Instead, Spitzer promised to champion
economic development there.
Do you see how this kind of thinking drives our
civilization over a cliff? In the face of water shortages or damages done
to rivers as well as the environment, a sitting governor pressed for more
Spitzer’s successor, Governor David Paterson, follows in the
same path. That means more destruction
of the wild, which, in turn creates a cascading effect on everything in our
Let's further see how ironic, useless and inept our
leaders prove themselves as they pretend to face our future water dilemmas
caused by overpopulation.
lack understanding of population's impact on our fragile environment
Newsweek, April 16, 2007, "Leadership and
interviewed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Green Giant,
with a picture of him puffing on a cigar.
While he filled his lungs with toxic chemicals from the stogie, 37 million
Californians' cars, trucks, ships, power plants and homes filled the skies with
enormous pollution exhaust.
Schwarzenegger promised to reduce California emissions
in 2020 by 174 metric tons.
What didn't he promise? What didn't he
address? What did he ignore?
California expects another added 40 million people, if
current immigration trends continue, by 2050, to reach a low of 65 million and
a high of 79.1 million. (Source: “US
Population Projections for 2050” Fogel/Martin, March 2006) What does
that mean? It means that nothing will be solved. Every aspect of
California's accelerating consequences will be multiplied by hyper-population
one "Leader" in Newsweek mentioned root-cause
Later in Newsweek's presentation, they featured mayors
of cities across America taking the lead. Again, none of their actions
will work because none addresses the certain negative impacts of adding 100
Newsweek's Karen Springen wrote another article on the
effects of human population in the same issue, "Will Polar Bears Be OK?"
Again, Springen failed to mention human overpopulation or anything about
stabilizing humanity’s numbers!
people, more combustion engines, more greenhouse gases
Another Newsweek piece, “How to Live a Greener Life”
by Jessica Ramirez, presented effective methods for curbing billions of metric
tons of greenhouse gases created in the U.S. annually. She prescribed
‘powder puff’ solutions that looked nice and made people feel good. Such
‘Kool-aid’ solutions fail miserably. She suggested planting a few
trees! As if trees can compete with millions of combustion engines
burning 20 million barrels daily! They cannot!
Newsweek continued with a report on China's water
crisis caused by its staggering 1.3 billion people. Journalist Orville
Schell reported, "The most dramatic national transformation in human
history is being threatened by a lack of water. More than 70 percent of
China's rivers are severely polluted. One can drive a hundred miles in
any direction from Beijing and never cross a healthy river. Many rivers
have dried up from human overuse. In 80
percent of rivers still flowing, water quality has been rated 'unfit for human
contact' as well as agricultural or industrial use."
Please take note that whatever polluted waters
jettison from rivers around the world into our oceans, that contaminated water
swirls into every sector of the globe. No marine plants or creatures can
withstand growing concentrations of human-made poisons.
I've traveled throughout China on my bicycle, up close
and personal. China features wall-to-wall people. No let up!
No end to it! Accelerating pollution! Compacted living! No
escape! Modern Chinese want to imitate Americans—with more resource
destruction and added pollution. They create a vicious legacy into the
At our current population growth, we follow China and
India's disastrous footsteps as we grow toward 1.0 billion people in this
century. Fifty years from now, the same report on China's enormous
dilemma will become our reality, especially in the West, and throughout the
At least one person in Newsweek's report spoke
rationally. K.R. Sridhar said, "I'm not against conservation, but
the idea that we can conserve our way out of this problem will not hold."
Nature always wins
Everything reported in Newsweek reminded me of a
vision— Governor Arnold, the great muscleman, jumping into the Colorado River
north of I-70 in springtime— with a goal of swimming to its source in the
Fraser Valley near the Continental Divide in Colorado. The scene proves
magnificent! His mighty muscles carry
him upward, past the torrents of melting water rushing out of the Rocky Mountains.
Sure enough, the press features him making tremendous
progress. Each day, he puffs on his cigar with confidence in his
journey. However, the mighty Colorado kept adding water to its annual
snow-melt runoff. As Arnold progressed, in reality, rushing water
swept him backwards— downstream.
In the end, even Arnold suffered total defeat by the
forces of nature.
the dots-- unchecked, rampant population growth
As you connect the dots in this book, California’s
fate represents America’s future. If we fail to take aggressive steps to
address the root-cause, hyper-population growth, we crash, no matter how much
we pretend to make progress.
No longer pure! Dangerously polluted! No longer ample!
Frosty Wooldridge has
bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as
six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005,
he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He rode
coast to coast across America in 2010. He presents “The Coming Population
Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups,
high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world
population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100
Million Americans. Copies
available: 1 888 280 7715