GR: In a new report, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency says that 40% of American lakes are polluted, and the situation is getting worse. The EPA blames “nutrient pollution,” but I’ll be more clear: The principal cause of American freshwater pollution is farming and the excess fertilizer that washes off the fields or soaks into the ground water. The photo below is from one of my ponds that has excess nitrogen that is probably from the nearby farm.
People can avoid harmful effects of polluted water by staying out of the water, by not eating fish from the water, and by not drinking unfiltered water. Wildlife does not have these options. Animal species that spend all or part of their time in water are leading the way down to extinction. Yay humans!
“Lakes and reservoirs provide many environmental, economic, and public health benefits. We use lakes for drinking water, energy production, food and recreation. Fish, birds and other wildlife rely on them for habitat and survival. In the National Lakes Assessment (NLA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partners surveyed a wide array of lakes representative of those found in the U.S., from small ponds and prairie potholes to large lakes and reservoirs. The NLA is part of the National Aquatic Resource Surveys, a series of statistically-based assessments designed to provide the public and decision-makers with nationally consistent and representative information on the condition of the nation’s waters.” (Continue reading: National Lakes Assessment 2012 Key Findings | National Aquatic Resource Surveys | US EPA
GR: Many places will have to begin pumping groundwater. That’s a temporary solution, however. Here in the arid western United States, we’ve seen what happens as the depth to water falls and the cost of pumping rises. We’ve also seen how toxic metals concentrate in shrinking groundwater aquifers.
One glacier on Chacaltaya mountain… has already completely disappeared.
“Bolivia’s government was recently forced to declare a state of national emergency — a terrible drought, said to be the worst in at least the past 25 years, plus increasing demand in the form of population growth have left the country high and dry.
“As of now, the country is trying to drill their way out the predicament with “emergency wells.” In the city of La Paz, the three main reservoirs that provide the city’s water are almost dry. It is reported that five other major cities also face severe water shortages. Hospitals are working at half capacity and suspending non-emergency surgeries and dialysis. In some poor neighborhoods taps have run dry for three weeks. The Guardian has posted a photo-essay of the situation here.
“One key aspect of the trouble is that Bolivia’s glaciers have dramatically shrank, and so the dams that rely on continuously capturing glacial run-off are rendered somewhat worthless at this point. Bolivia’s population is expected to increase by 50% (to 15 million) by the early 2040’s.” —Joe Bish, Population Media Center (Read mre here: Bolivian Water Crisis as Glaciers Vanish, Population Grows)
GR: I recommend that you follow the continue reading link. The figures for the country and lots of specific cities are included.
“Drought has erupted in the Southeast United States in recent months, and emerged in the central plains in recent weeks. Forest fires have dotted the Southern Appalachians. Areas not directly threatened by the fires have dealt with the downstream consequences. Many places—including here in Asheville—have seen an almost uninterrupted run of air quality alerts. My part of the country now faces some of the same challenges many Californians have been battling for several years.
How we got there
“The short version of how we got there, and this isn’t meant to sound flippant, is that it’s been dry and warm.
“Take a look at October’s “percent of normal” precipitation map. The darkest brown color painted over much of the south—and nearly all of Alabama—and parts of the central and southern high plains represents less than 5% of normal rainfall. In other words, less than one part out of twenty of October’s average rainfall. In the south, October was an exclamation point at the end of a dry stretch dating to summer.” –Deke Arndt (continue reading: Drought breaks out this fall | NOAA Climate.gov)