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Water-The World’s Most Valuable Asset
The Importance of Clean Water
What is the most valuable natural resource? Unarguably, water is the most beneficial natural resource the United States has, but it is limited. Without the precious commodity of water, life, trade and industry will come to a complete standstill. The importance of clean water to sustain life is not a new concept; however, the unavailability of clean enough water to support growing populations and ensure economic growth is a forerunner of possible catastrophic failures facing today’s leaders and future generations.
Agricultural Run-Off (NPS)
Additionally, there are numerous reasons that water has become a topic for instantaneous debate. First, “…agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is the leading source of water quality impacts on surveyed rivers and lakes, the second largest source of impairments to wetlands, and a major contributor to contamination of surveyed estuaries and ground water”(EPA, 2005). This is a huge concern because the population relies on agriculture to produce food, which allows the advancement of life. At the same time, the production of agriculture pollutes clean water, which is also crucial to sustainability. This needs to be addressed directly. If it is not, there will be serious economic impacts that will create societal problems for a long time to come. Perhaps, future agricultural research will foster the advancement of mass agriculture, which is absent of pesticides, as well as, surplus nitrogen and phosphorus emitted by farm animals.
Water, Mining & Uranium
Likewise, laws such as the Safe Drinking Water Act are being somewhat ignored. For example, the SDWA requires that, “Class I wastes be injected deeper than the deepest underground source of drinking water;” however, this is not always the case (Uranium News, 2010). An illustration of this deed can be witnessed in Cheyenne, Wyoming where Ur Energy is mining uranium utilizing underground injection wells. What is disturbing about this is that the injection will be several thousand feet above two aquifers, the Tensleep and Madison. The negative impacts from this action may include, “…surface environment chemical hazards, surface environment radiological hazards and groundwater chemical and radiological contamination hazards” (EPA-Appendix III, 2007). If these impacts are realized the cost to stabilized these scenarios will be exorbitant. A solution to this would be to do further research to ensure safety or forget the venture all together; however, in May 2013, Cheyenne-based Cameco Resources began mining the North Butte Uranium Mine in Campbell County, Wyoming. Now, fast- forward to August 2013, and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued final approval to mine uranium at Lost Creek Mine (StarTribune, 2013).
Water & Climate Change
Additionally, another environmental problem, climate change will surely impact water. The negative effects will be different depending on which region is being examined. For example, in the west drought is likely because of below average precipitation and the evaporation escalation that follows. This will have a direct effect on flora, fauna, society and economics. Perhaps the biggest effect can be seen right now in Alaska where bionetworks are in solemn distress. This is obvious to any individual who has witnessed James Balog’s “Time-lapse proof of extreme ice loss.”
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This forfeiture of snow and ice is being wasted even though it is a resource due to its ability to store water. Perhaps, an antidote to this problem is tougher regulations of greenhouse gases emissions, individual discipline with regard to burning fossil fuels and a corporate tax along with a tighter cap and trade system. Although cap and trade had experienced some success during the global recession that began in 2008 with the subprime mortgage crunch, it success is partially due to the economic depression. And, it makes complete sense that GHGs would be in decline at the same time big businesses are in decline. The real test is when business goes back to a flourishing state. Prosperous economies emit more GHGs than deprived markets this has an effect on the water supply, as well.
Advance to New York City September 2014, enormous GHG polluters were absent at the United Nations climate summit including: China’s, Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi and Russia’ Vladimir Putin. And, while many leaders gave eloquent speeches during the summit, many were absent the next day when world leaders were to gather and engage in discussions about the new global agreement that is to be formally presented in Paris, France in December 2015. These leaders include:Barack Obama,Angela Merkel,Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin (Harvey, 2014). Here is what Nelson Mandela’s wife,Graça Machel, had to say about the 2014 Summit on climate change, “There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today” (Goldenberg, 2014).
Positive Aspects about the Water Supply
On the other hand, there are positive aspects about the water supply. For example, the quantity of it remains unchanged throughout time. Next, it is manageable and mankind is resilient, which means that it is likely that action will be taken to safeguard the water supply in the United States. Likewise, researchers are currently studying the many effects that pollution has on water. Correspondingly, the realization that global climate change actually exists and is created by man is gaining respectable momentum in a wide array of scientific, academic and political consortiums.
In addition, the illustrative impact the loss of water would have on the growth of assets overall, is at best frightening. Without water growth is impossible. It would be difficult for any individual or society to function for any amount of time once the water supply is tainted. This is a recognized theory that promoted laws like the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) and the Shore Protection Act (SPA).
Environmental Protection Agency. (2005). Protecting Water Quality from Agricultural Runoff. Clean Water is Everyone’s’ Business.
Environmental Protection Agency. (2007). Appendix III. Occupational and Public Risks Associated with In Situ Leaching.
StarTribune Business. (2013). Colo.-based Ur-Energy begins mining uranium at Lost Creek mine in southwestern Wyoming
The Guardian. (2014).Nelson Mandela's widow calls for urgent climate action at UN
The National Academic Press. (2004). Confronting the Nation's Water Problems: The Role of Research Executive Summary.
The Water CAMPWS. The Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (2012).
United States Global Change Research Program. (2012). Key Findings.
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (2010). Environmental Impact Statement for the Moore Ranch ISR Project in Campbell County, Wyoming Supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities Final Report.
Uranium News. (2010). Drinking water at risk through in-situ uranium mining.
© 2014 Suzanl