There is no other word that can aptly describe water - Blue Gold. Today I was watching the movie - Blue Gold - World Water Wars. A must see movie for environment and water enthusiasts. The movie starts with a true story of a Californian gold hunter - how his body got transformed into a quasi corpse in seven days because of lack of water. The story then moves on how we humans are using water without discretion. Here are some interesting statistics:
- Manufacturing an average automobile requires 350,000 liters
- Upto 7 barrels of water is required to extract a barrel of oil - Save oil to save water
- One microchip requires 32liters of water
- Today there are 50,000 large dams worldwide
- Today there are at least 10 publicly traded water indices
- 750 pounds of carcass requires 5.2 million liters of water - be a vegetarian and save water.
- 30,240 liters of water is required per 50pound bag of wheat! Don't waste food my friends.
- 1.8 million liters per bale of cotton - Don't buy too many clothes (don't wear too less either)
- 77,500 liters of water is required per 50pound bag of rice. One kilo of rice requires 3,500 litres of water
- 99 liters for an apple
- 107 liters for a banana
- 22,000 liters of water per 50pound bag of corn
- 10 litres for a rose
Severe deforestation by Mayans affected the water cycle and destroyed entire Mayan civilization. Now, fertile soil is eroding and the rate of desertification is increasing. Most parts of the land is losing soil moisture. Over extraction of groundwater is causing ground collapse in certain regions. We are facing the onset of major shift in weather conditions - it is pouring intensely over oceans while the land is devoid of rains. Now oceans are collecting all the freshwater instead of ground aquifers. This is increasing the pressure oceans are exerting on the ground, leading to frequent earthquakes. Apart from deforestation and groundwater exploitation, we are now replacing the permeable ground with hard-scape - effect of urbanization. Instead of limiting our development to local availability of water, we are pumping water to the places where we have our homes and industries. Today's worldwide groundwater extraction stands at about 30billion liters per day (rough estimate). Dams are affecting the natural water cycle by stopping important nutrients from reaching farther regions. Choked arteries lead to heart attacks. Dams are similar to choking the arteries of mother earth. The second part of the movie beautifully captures the politics of water - with privatization in focus. Companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co are inverting the rules of groundwater extraction by conniving with govt. officials. Desalination is not an option since it involves other resources that are again dependent on oil and freshwater. Why freely give water to companies only so they can sell it back to us at whatever cost demand allows? Min profit margin in water industry varies between 15% to 30%. Private companies think about immediate profit and not about the local community. [W:Aral sea] vanished because of over utilization. Have you ever heard of exporting water? It can happen in several ways other than just bottling water. Growing crops in a water rich region and exporting that crop to another region is as good as exporting all the resources that are required to grow that crop - fertile soil, water, sunlight etc. People are poor in many parts of the world. If they are made to pay for water, they may opt out of safe water supply and resort to collecting water from contaminated sources. This brings down the overall health of the community. The movie clearly explains how developed nations, in the name of aid, loot people of the developing nations. It is a new kind of colonialism. The third part of the movie is about water wars. You have some very interesting facts to learn in this section. If money is more important than water, where are we? The last part is - way forward. Here the movie captures some of the alternatives to solve water problems. Just as we know the names of our town and state, we should also know the name of the watershed we are dependent upon. BTW - India could be among the countries which do not want water to be the right of their citizens - Hail India
Save water not to save environment but to save ourselves.