The Water Crisis

Staff Writer: Olivia O’Connor 

  Global warming, CO2 emissions, new viruses. We all know about these environmental issues, but what many do not know is another environmental issue that could cause the world to go to war. What is this critical necessity? Water. Now you are thinking we have water all around us, why would water be the cause of the downfall of humanity?  

Water is the key to everything that we do: drinking, showering, cooking, agriculture and livestock, transportation, generating electricity. Life could not exist without water. One of our most important freshwater sources is the Colorado River and it is suffering a drought due to climate change and overuse. 

According to The New York Times, “The Colorado, which supplies water to 40 million people in the United States and Mexico and supports billions of dollars of agricultural production across the region, is in the throes of two decades of drought made worse by climate change. At the river’s two immense reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, water levels are at just 28 percent of total capacity because of the river’s diminished flow and increased demand.”  

The light minerals of Lake Mead, a reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, show how high the water line was before the drought occurred. The lake is now just 27 percent full, the lowest level the reservoir has ever been. Photo Credit: turnto10.com 

Lake Mead’s water level in the year 2000. Photo Credit: NASA/USGS

 

Lake Mead’s water level in the year 2021. Photo Credit: NASA/USGS 

 

As the Colorado River’s water diminishes, states like Arizona and Nevada are faced with new restrictions on how much water they can extract from the river to use for their people and the land. CNBC states, “Starting in January, Arizona will have to reduce its water usage by 592,000 acre-feet, which is 21% of the water the state uses. Nevada will have to reduce its use by 25,000 acre-feet, which is 8% of the state’s water use. And Mexico will have to reduce its annual appointment by 7%.” However, these two states and five others have failed to reach an agreement on the costly water restrictions, and the federal government might have to step in.  

It is dire that these states and Mexico use the water efficiently and responsibly. If not, there could be a disastrous collapse of our Colorado River System. Although, some states are already trying to mend this horrible problem. In the article, Severe drought, falling water levels bring more cuts to the Southwest by Austin Denean, it states, “In Nevada, grass has been prohibited in some areas for yards and has been replaced with synthetic turf or desert landscaping, pool sizes have been limited and more efforts have been made to ensure as much water as possible is being recycled. Nevada’s cuts have already gotten consumption under the new restrictions announced Tuesday.”  

If states, like Nevada, keep making regulations to conserve their water consumption then there is a chance that the Colorado River System can be stabilized and replenished.  

Even though we do not live in these states we should still try our best to conserve our water as well. Some students at Woodstock High school and the middle school have already been practicing great ways to conserve water.  

Kaitlyn Henscheid, a junior at Woodstock High school, states how she conserves water, “When I brush my teeth, I turn the water off to conserve it.” 

Emma O’Connor, an eighth grader at Woodstock Middle school, states, “My family and I use buckets in our showers to collect the extra water as it heats up. And after I am done, I take the bucket outside and water the plants.”  

We can all make a difference. By just turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, taking quicker showers, or simply finishing the water from your bottle. It might not seem like one person can make a difference, but it can. As one person starts to do something others will follow. Eventually, we will all want to be environmentally conscious and realize that our actions have consequences, and they can either be good or bad. 

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