Dealing with drought

Reduced snowpack due to global warming may prove a bigger problem than rising oceans. But if we get past the Yuck Factor, then water can be reprocessed, saving enormous amounts of money and water as well. Perhaps we will have little choice in the matter.

California and Atlanta are now simultaneously in severe drought while apparently doing their best to do nothing. California has competing ballot propositions that appear to be headed towards a fine train wreck indeed while Atlanta has mad schemes to divert water from other states or maybe build desalinization plants. Um, they do know the clock is ticking on this, right?

Georgia is now threatening to sue the Army Corps of Engineers for diverting water from Lake Lanier to Florida to save endangered species like mussels. All of which is a swell issue for their governor to hyperventiliate about – why is the government saving mussels not people. Except it’s not really true. That downstream water in Florida is also used by a coal plant, nuclear plant, and businesses as well. Nor can Georgia sue the Army Corps, as it’s a federal agency and thus immune from lawsuit, something the governor has to know. The Corps has been responding with bland reassurances that all will be fine and comes across as more than a little patronizing, something which certainly (and rightfully) would honk off the locals. So, this is the beginnings of what could be ongoing water wars in the South; states against states, states against the federal government, juggling business interests with environmental causes.

Also, and this is certainly true in California, saving a species may also mean saving the water. A judge in California recently ordered that less water be diverted to southern California because of an endangered fish in the Sacramento Delta. The reasoning here, and it seems to have been accepted by all, is if that species of fish dies off, then the water itself will have become degraded. Perhaps that’s also true with the Florida mussels.

Here in Connecticut, we have a moderate drought going on. It’s the middle of October, and it was freaking 77 degrees yesterday. This is not normal. The weather is changing. And yes, the State of Connecticut is equally slow about getting proactive about water. Sure, we’re blessed with an abundance of water here, but the drought shows it’s best not to take such things for granted. Maybe that’s the problem, everyone is thinking this drought is a blip that will go away soon, then we get back to normal. But maybe “normal” as it relates to water will need to be redefined – and soon.