I recall a documentary I saw back in the late 1990s, it was some sort of bad TV special--bad in acting and producing--that predicted what the next fifty or so years of life may be like. Some talked about Nostrodamus, others just predicted based off of scientific research. One particular thing stuck in my mind: The possibility of 'waters wars,' with shortages and droughts people would be forced to fight and become adversaries just for a drop of liquid.
I kept that fearful tale in the back of my mind for years.
Today, I read this headline and the fear came racing back.
Dateline, KQED Science section, an article written by Sasha Khokha:
The story comes from the drought scourged California landscape, where water is no where and there's hardly a drop to drink, or use for farming. Underground aqueducts are quickly becoming clay. It's getting tense, with Governor Brown announcing tough restrictions on the use of water.
Meanwhile, golf courses remain green, as do the luxurious yards of the rich and famous. But that's a whole other story.
The article linked weaves a troubling tale of what the near future could look like. A maybe those 'water wars' fears from that unnamed 1990s special could actually occur.
From the story, the more important text:
“They’re taking the water hoses, taking the copper wiring,” says the county’s District Attorney, David Linn. “We’ve even had instances where they’ve come in and stolen the water pumps from the farmers.”Linn has recently launched a new task force so rural residents and farmers can reach a deputy district attorney 24-7 to report crime, including illegal well drilling.Linn says a hypothetical call might be, “You know over the past two weeks, the water flow on my kitchen sink has continued to decrease. I notice there’s a couple of big drill rigs across the road, looks like they’re very active.”An investigator could come out and talk with the well driller to make sure they’re drilling where they should be.“We want to stop the wholesale planned attempt by water drillers to essentially tap out entire neighborhoods of homes without proper legal authority,” says Linn.If water is siphoned out of a storage tank, or a water pump goes missing, the DA’s office could dispatch investigators to the scene to collect evidence for prosecution.Under last year’s landmark groundwater law, local officials will be taking on the primary responsibility for managing groundwater and enforcing new rules.The Madera County Task Force also plans to educate farmers about the best kinds of fences and tank enclosures to keep out water thieves.
Imagine: Water delivery trucks will be threatened. Fire hydrants will be targets.. People will be dying--if things get really, really bad, for just one more taste of life-continuing liquid. Just one more drop of the once abundant resource that we all need to sustain life..
All of these hypothetical fears are, frighteningly, quickly become more than hypotheticals. They are becoming likely possibilities.
I recall that scene from the TWILIGHT ZONE episode the Midnight Sun, where water was scarce and the earth was moving towards the sun--before a sudden change in course and it was hurled away. But during peak hot times, the program illustrated the desperate need that law abiding people would have and how they may resort to things that, under fair circumstances, they'd never consider. And that, in the end, is what is tough for us to consider: The prospect of people doing desperate things with the scarce resource of water drying up across the populous state.
I think the entire country is hoping for rain.
But forecasters aren't giving much hope lately.
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