Water and the World’s Food Supply-Part I

Before modern times, water was revered, though probably not thought of as such, water is the Elixir of Life for all living things. The reverance for water has taken many forms, lyrical, musical, poetical, religious and in places both old and new.

From the most common usage, Baptism by Water whether sprinkled or immersed, to the ancient Oracle of Delphi fountains, to the Marriage at Cana with the transformation of water to wine in the Marriage at Cana, to the Fountain of Youth which has been
immortalized for centuries, and most recently in the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End.

What does water mean to the people of in todays world? It seems to only mean flooding, drought, taken for granted, polluted, filtered, disinfected
with chemicals or drank sans any filtration or disinfectant. They should not take water for granted since there is a finite amount of water, even in areas that have plentiful water, for now.

Water is needed for crops, feeder animals, and most of all by humans.

Drought is the most prevelent in today’s world. Where has the water gone? It has been dissipated by industry and by people. The more people, the more water is needed to sustain them and their activities. Water that is considered sanitary or potable. Drinking water Water to cook with, water to wash with, water to cleanse the body and most of all, water to drink. The human body is almost 2/3rds water
so the requirement of a human body is daily. The requirement varies with animals and plants. Some can sustain with very little water but at the end of the day, they also need water to thrive.

In today’s world, scientists estimate that up to 80% of the human population is dehydrated. This is partly due to intake by people of other beverages, such as cola’s, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages. Yet, we still need water. If you haven’t heard of the 8 glasses of water a day you are behind the times. (smile, you’re on camera)

Such a simple need, yet so profound as water, has led to wars even into modern times. The drought has been a causative factor in the beginnings of the Syrian civil war. It won’t and isn’t confined to Syria. There isn’t a place in whole world that doesn’t have areas that are on the edge of a cliff with drought and it’s twin
flooding. Flooding has it’s own level of environment issue’s. Everything on land is swept into a unmanageable current. The resulting pollution is not enviable nor easily mitigated. From the fluids in cars swept into the confligeration, to whole houses and buildings, there are massive amounts of pollutants swept into the floods.

Managing water in a more sustainable way is past due. There are the half hearted attempts and fully engaged, those people that are working on the issue’s of water,
it’s lack, it’s pollution, it’s sanitation and the effects of all three.

Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface.[1] It is vital for all known forms of life. On Earth, 96.5% of the planet’s water is found in seas and oceans, 1.7% in groundwater, 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland, a small fraction in other large water bodies, and 0.001% in the air as vapor,
clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in air), and precipitation.[2][3] Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater, and 98.8% of that water is in ice and groundwater. Less than 0.3% of all freshwater is in rivers, lakes, and the atmosphere, and an even smaller amount of the Earth’s freshwater (0.003%) is contained within biological bodies and manufactured products.[2]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water

Drought has affected the world food supply chain. Mainly because as so aptly put in the opening paragraph of The World Food Safety Supply Chain Conference:

”Food production—from “farm to fork”—has become a globalized, complicated process. The food ingredient supply chain for a finished product
can incorporate multiple manufacturers and suppliers from around the world. With each exchange, vulnerabilities to the food safety system increase, and as a result governments, retailers, and consumers have intensified their scrutiny of food ingredient quality.<a href="''http://www.foodsafetytech.com/FoodSafetyTech/FST-ResourceCenter-

Without water plants needed to feed animals, fails. Without water, animal production fails. Without animal production, the price of meats goes up even though the demand
is not diminished and is worsened by population increases in drought prone areas. The dominoes fall.

What acerbates the situation is that when drought or civil war occurs in a region, people migrate from that region to another one that puts more stress
on that area. A prime example is: Jordan facing a water crisis with refugees from Syria. http://www.trust.org/item/20131216173028-zteuy/?source=hptop as written 7 months ago. With human population increases such as refugees also comes the increase in sanitary sewage needs.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Natural Resources and Environment has a listing of the countries by how much water or lack of same they have available. http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4473e/y4473e08.htm Jordan is now at Number 2 spot. Not something that is good news for those people in Jordan nor the refugees.

Aquifers are being stressed by both depletion and by contamination via raw sewage, industrial use and various other sources such as industrial and natural. When the 'wall's' of an
aquifer fail, especially in limestone areas, they create sinkholes. Those pockets of aquifers cannot be refilled since the land has collapsed into the now depleted aquifer well.

The combination of treated sewage in more modern areas is a good thing but the treatment does not filter out all contaminants that ultimately circle back into the aquifers. Such as Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products, PPCP's, that contain ingredients that are too minute to filter. Yet, become a component of the filtered water that is returned through pipes into homes.

The EPA has the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations and the Contaminants Candidate List (CCL3) and the Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rules (UCMR 3) http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm which while for the US is a good start for other countries of which some have their own but others, not.

From water to food, to a human crisis, is not such a leap as could have been foreseen in the past. It is a present one though in as much that the Red Flags have been unfurled. Whether the leaders of governments take heed and take more extensive steps in mitigating the water crisis that some project will happen in a wider area by 2030, is yet to be seen.

All is not lost however, recently in 2013 large freshwater (hopefully) aquifers were discovered.

In 2013 large freshwater aquifers were discovered under continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa. They contain an estimated half a million cubic kilometers of “low salinity” water that could be economically processed into potable water. The reserves formed when ocean levels were lower and rainwater made its way into the ground in land areas that were not submerged until the ice age ended 20,000 years ago. The volume is estimated to be 100x the amount of water extracted from other aquifers since 1900.[2][3] Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquifer
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131208085304.htm

However, extraction, filtration and delivery costs would have to be a consideration. There is still aquifers that await discovery yet it is still imperative that people conserve and treat much better this Elixir of life.

All references unless otherwise specified can be found at WikipediA The Free Encyclopedia.

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1 reply

  1. With several news reports around the world about water, there is much to read and research. Even in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

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