Life Without Water

Ruby Brinkerhoff, Student
Thursday, November 12, 2009

On our way to Mexico, I watched the desert land pass by.  The barren mountains, with scattered brush, baked in the sunlight.  All of a sudden, we came down into a sea of green, with flat horizons of fields and farms.  Mist sprayed forth with perfection, drenching the mass of crop land.  We had entered into a case of the California State Water Project.  It was amazing to see this growth and production in an area that is naturally so dry.  Even more incredible is the amount of people that have built a life around the idea that water can be controlled and used as one wishes through a system of dams, reservoirs, piping, aqueducts, pumps, and power plants.  This is a synthetic paradise, an artificial utopia, that people have come to rest their very survival on.  These water systems are all over the world, and it creates a false sense of security.  People believe they can just keep pumping away, and technology and bigger, better equipment and projects will come to the rescue.  I think it is a social injustice to create a security blanket out these water systems, when failure is a very possible reality.  People ignorant of this overbearing crisis, and who solely rely on the efficiency of the water systems, will hit rock bottom if the systems fail.
Beyond these small, water guzzling utopias, the world struggles with the effects of environmental degradation, famine, and war.  People live in the tightening grip of poverty, drinking poisoned water, and fighting with their neighbors over who gets to drill a new well.  Waters are depleted for the sake of foreign interest, and people are driven from the homes they have lived in and the lands they have cultivated for centuries.  As fields lose their productivity due to salt, and rivers become sickly trickles of blackened water, people can no longer eat or drink and slowly rot away.  Intrinsic value is lost as rivers are dammed and water is fouled.  The livelihood of all people is depressed when water becomes a waste basket for our carelessness and the squandering of our most precious resource.
All of these effects of the water crisis are social injustices.  One of the greatest social injustices of all is that the voices of the people, those bearing the brunt of the water crisis, are not being heard.  That unified cry for help is being drowned out by the gallons of gushing water, the floods of faulty dams, and the cracking of dry earth as rivers run dry.

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