Page: Not Enough Water

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(HOST)  Because we have so many fresh-water lakes in Vermont, we tend to think that water shortages don’t apply to us. Commentator Ruth Page says, "Think again!"

(PAGE)  Earth’s water is ancient. What we drink today is the same water that assuaged the thirst of the dinosaurs, and all other life forms that evolved on Earth. Nobody can make new water. It’s the water that Adam and Eve drank, and presumably the serpent also. It’s ancient, and life-sustaining.

On hot summer days, many American cities turn water on in the streets to let children romp in its cool relief; that’s embarrassing, when millions of kids elsewhere haven’t enough water to support life. In the Middle East, some of the former streams are now dust-dry ditches. In many such places, young children are dying of dehydration. People in the United States, and many elsewhere, consider clean freshwater a basic human right. Neither we nor other familiar life-forms can survive without it, (though there are some simple species of life that can survive on a couple of other chemicals than water’s hydrogen and oxygen).

Some 14,000 species of freshwater fish account for a fourth of all the vertebrate species on earth, packed into the comparatively small land area taken up by freshwater – the space taken by rivers, streams and lakes on earth. Many people have to work incredibly hard to get enough water to survive. In some African and Eastern nations, people – usually women – walk 20 or more miles every day to the only village well, carrying home on their heads, water for the family’s cooking, for washing food and clothes, for bathing, and for dealing with waste.

We on earth are using more water per day then Nature can replace, so there’s always a shortage. Our own southwest, including southern California whose fruit and vegetable farms feed much of the country, often aches for water. Mexico, which is supposed to have a share of the much-tapped Colorado River, gets none at all.

At least sixty percent of the human body is water and we all need clean drinking water every day. Some 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to ample freshwater. SO – if, like me, you can look out the window and see Lake Champlain, or any of Vermont’s other lovely lakes, make yourself keep in mind that we mustn’t waste the water. It’s a precious resource, and there isn’t any more.

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