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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Water Woes

We can only recycle water...we can't make any more.

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, April 13, 2013/Categories: natural history, sustainability, environment

"Whiskey is for drinking...water is for fighting over."

That often stated quote has been used to describe conflicts over water resources in the Rocky Mountain West. A recent event illustrates such ongoing battles when the  Governor of Utah  rejected the pumping of groundwater from a desert valley for piping to Las Vegas. Demands on water supplies for agriculture and urban uses have tapped the Ogallala Aquifer in the Midwest; the Colorado River in the Rockies; and the Owens Valley in California and have become case studies of over-consumption of a limited resource. Water woes are now emerging in some locations where water was once considered plentiful, like Florida.

NPR reported on Florida's Silver Springs where the water clarity of this once famous tourist attraction is now negatively impacted by multiple economic forces. Pumping water from the underground aquifer system feeding the springs and fertilizer run-off from nearby farms and houses has resulted in lowered water levels and algae blooms choking the remaining pools. The once crystal clear springs are in deep decline.

Crystal Springs, Florida  (credit: NPR)

Efforts are underway to try and reverse the downward trends but it will take years and considerable financial commitment. I wouldn't want to pay cash dollars to peer down from a glass-bottomed tour boat at dead fish and pond scum in the meantime.


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