Atmospheric Water Generator USA,MEXICO,CANADA.By WaterMicronWorld
Around the world, the answer to the increase in water demand is to build more dams and divert more rivers. Water has long been manipulated. Even the earliest civilizations, from the Roman to the Mayan, built aqueducts and irrigation schemes. But we are now tampering with water systems on a scale that is totally unsustainable.
The number of large dams worldwide has climbed from just over 5,000 in 1950 to 38,000 today and the number of waterways altered for navigation has grown from fewer than 9,000 in 1900 to almost 500,000. In the northern hemisphere, we have harnessed and tamed three-quarters of the flow from the world’s major rivers to power our cities. While advances in modern engineering have allowed governments to supply farms and cities with water, these practices have done great damage to the natural world.
In the U.S., only 2 percent of the country’s rivers and streams remain free-flowing and undeveloped. The continental U.S. has lost more than half of its wetlands and California has lost 95 percent. Populations of migratory birds and waterfowl have dropped from 60 million in 1950 to just 3 million today. Watersheds that are the most biologically diverse are the most degraded, putting species and wilderness at great risk.
“The U.S. is the epicenter of freshwater biodiversity in the world,” says Larry Masters of the Nature Conservancy. However, 37 percent of its freshwater fish are at risk of extinction, 51 percent of crayfish and 40 percent of amphibians are imperiled, and 67 percent of freshwater mussels are extinct or vulnerable to extinction.
One billion pounds of weed and bug killers are used throughout the United States every year, reports National Geographic, most of which runs off into the country’s water systems. The Natural Resources Defense Council says that 53 million Americans drink tap water contaminated with lead, fecal bacteria or other harmful pollutants. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. Rivers and streams are too dangerous for fishing,
In Canada, Jamie Linton has documented a disturbing story of water system abuse for the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Wetland loss includes 65 percent of Atlantic coastal marshes, 70 percent of southern Ontario wetlands, 71 percent of prairie wetlands, and 80 percent of the Fraser River Delta in Canada’s province of British Columbia. Acid rain has caused a 40 percent decline in fish species in some Canadian lakes. Most major river systems have been dammed, and more stream flows are diverted out of their basins of origin than in any other country in the world by a considerable margin. Over a century of mining, forestry and large-scale industry has affected virtually every water body in Canada, and toxic chemicals are found even in the most remote parts of the Far North. “We have crashing ecosystems in every river basin in the West,” says Steve Glazer of the Sierra Club’s Colorado River Task Force.
In the Great Lakes of North America, the world’s largest freshwater system, the result has been a “catastrophic loss of biological diversity,” according to Linton. Janet Abramovitz of the Worldwatch Institute adds that the Great Lakes have lost two-thirds of their once extensive wetlands and that less than 3 percent of the lakes’ shorelines are suitable for swimming, drinking or supporting any aquatic life.
The Nature Conservancy has identified 100 species and 31 ecological communities at risk within the Great Lakes system and notes that half don’t exist anywhere else. Two hundred years ago, each of the five Great Lakes had its own thriving aquatic community. In 1900, 82 percent of the commercial catch was native. By 1966, native species were only two-tenths of 1 percent of the catch; the remaining 99.8 percent were exotic species, most of them devastating to the local species.
The story is the same all over the world. All but one of England’s 33 major rivers is suffering; some are now less than a third of their average depth. The Thames is threatening to run dry and already larger ships have to restrict their movements to high tides. Development has cut off the Rhine River in Europe from 90 percent of its original flood plains, and the native salmon run has nearly disappeared. Over the last 25 years, the Danube’s phosphate and nitrate concentrations have increased six-fold and four-fold, respectively, causing great harm to the region’s tourism and fisheries. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 80 percent of China’s major rivers are so degraded they no longer support fish. The building of Egypt’s Aswan Dam in 1970 caused the number of commercially harvested fish to drop by almost two-thirds.
The World Resources Institute reports that, after the Pak Mun Dam was built in Thailand, all 150 fish species that had inhabited the Mun River virtually disappeared. Introduction of non-native species to Victoria Lake in Africa has all but destroyed the native species population, already imperiled by millions of liters of untreated sewage and industrial waste dumped by the cities of surrounding Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Three-fourths of Poland’s rivers are so contaminated by chemicals, sewage and agricultural run-off that their water is unfit even for industrial use. Nearly half of the water and sewage treatment systems in Moscow are ineffective or malfunctioning and, according to the Russian Security Council, 75 percent of the Republic’s lake and river water is unsafe to drink.
The Aral Sea basin shared by Afghanistan, Iran and five countries of the former Soviet Union was once the world’s fourth largest lake. Excessive river diversions have caused it to lose half its area and three-fourths of its volume, while its surrounding wetlands have shrunk by 85 percent. Calling it one of the planet’s greatest environmental tragedies, Postel reports that almost all fish and waterfowl species have been decimated and the fisheries have collapsed entirely. Each year, winds pick up 40150 million tons of a toxic salt mixture from the dry sea bed and dump it on the surrounding farmlands. Millions of “ecological refugees” have fled the area.
There is simply no way to overstate the water crisis of the planet today. No piecemeal solution is going to prevent the collapse of whole societies and ecosystems. A radical rethinking of our values, priorities and political systems is urgent and still possible. Yet, as we will explore in the next section, there are forces at work in the world today that, unless challenged, would move the world almost inexorably into a water-scarce future.
By Jenny WaterMicronWorld