“By the gift of water you nourish and sustain us and all living things.” These are the words used in the baptismal rite in Lutheran services. But in our world, we cannot assume that everyone will be nourished or sustained. It is no exaggeration to say that the conflict between humanity’s growing thirst and the projected supply of usable, potable water could result in a water crisis of catastrophic proportions unless action is taken to secure a long-tern sustainable supply of water.

The world’s population will double in the next 50 years, depending on whose estimates you accept. Our renewable water supply, however, is constant. Compounding those grim realities is the fact that per capita water consumption is rising twice as fast as the population. One does not have to have a master degree to figure out that this is a problem.

Nations fight over oil, but valuable as it is, there are substitutes for oil. There is no substitute for water. Life is not sustainable without water. More than 70 percent of our body consists of water and it takes less than 1 percent deficiency in our body’s water to make us thirsty. A 5 percent deficit causes a slight fever. An 8 percent shortage causes the glands to stop producing saliva. A person cannot walk with a 10 percent deficiency and death occurs at 12 percent.

In California, like most of the world, water is in abundance where people are not. Three-fourths of the state’s snow and rain fall in the northern part of the state, where one-third of the people live. There are no magical solutions to our water shortages, but simple steps can make a huge difference in solving this problem. If we are to provide a sustainable, safe and clean water supply than these broad issues must be addressed:

  • Conservation. Conserving what we have is an immediate step we can take.
  • Pollution. Strategies to ensure clean water must be developed.
  • Desalination. Efforts to convert seawater to usable water must be supported.
  • Water Transfers. Coordinating with regional and state water agencies can develop a long-term solution to the impending crisis.


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