Water: Crisis of the Century

Water is What Matters

The history making Mother Crisis of the Century is showing her ugly head. Drought now tops our screens and agenda. In the 1850’s California gold rush days, people traveling across the desert desperate for water paid up to $100 ($2745 in today’s dollars) for a cup of water. The current crisis impact is only beginning to be felt and will grow for the millions directly affected in the natural disaster declared 12 state zone. The ripples will be felt in prices around the world.

Survival in a water crisis becomes the focus for plant, animal and human life. Every decision made is affected by the absence of sufficient water no matter who you are, what you have or where you live. It leveled the ground even for King David and impoverished peasants in ancient times. All plant, animal and human life become victims equally in a water crises. King David’s prayer rings in our ears today with relevance, “I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away, my heart heavy, like lead. I remembered the old days, went over all God had done and pondered His works. I stretched out my hands to you as a desert thirsty for rain.” Psalms 143:4-6.

Crises show respect for no one or their plans. The current drought, if prolonged, may be the “perfect desert storm” of the century. Interesting that God finally got the King’s attention, and maybe at times, that is what it takes to get ours. You do not need to be an alarmist to be concerned about the water crisis already declared a natural disaster and this does not include any extension in years to follow.

Few ponder the value of water to life, health and safety until there is an absence of it. Did you know that 1.3 trillion liters of fresh water are consumed each day by people in the USA? In the world 1.2 billion people do not have easy access to water and 2.6 billion people do not have clean water. These facts have faces. Their futures are directly determined by water for life. Every person is 70% water.Water has everything to do with our health and well-being. It is the indispensable regulator of body processes and temperature. It takes a minimum of 8 cups per day for humans to be healthy; many gallons for animals, and acre feet of water to grow the plants to sustain human and animal life.

This crisis is real. The Federal government has already declared 12 states as eligible for natural disaster help. This is a “desert storm” not to be taken with a grain of salt. 70% of the fresh produce consumed in the USA comes from California. The ripple effect will roll down like a blinding dust storm in the cost of food, water and related commodities. One scary prospect is the impact on public safety when the already lean ranks of law enforcement cannot hold back those desperate to feed themselves and their families who find themselves having to choose between being law abiding citizens and survival.

A bigger issue must be considered now by thoughtful leadership—what is the plan if this already record breaking drought extends into next year which is a very real possibility to compound the chaos? What happens to electricity provided from water driven turbines? That “circuit breaker” triggers a cascade of chaos. There is hope.

There may be some benefits in the drought not unlike the unwelcome recession. For example: greater austerity, greater conservation of resources and innovation that creates jobs. Most important of all, we are learning more about how to value and steward the things that matter. People, water and safety matters. We now have the opportunity to rethink and value the resource for what it is and to find the innovations that provide water for abundant living. We all can accept the discipline of water conservation, help enforcement to identify abusers and develop innovations that can make better use of our water treasure for life.

As a last resort, we may choose to follow the example of King David and humble ourselves, even pray and realize we are not in control. It could be the teachable moment to restore the Water of Life to our soul, body and mind and with it the restoration of water for life. It has worked historically. Why not today? When all is said and done is that not what matters most? What a wonderful teachable moment and life lesson in learning more what it means to love God, people and properly use things as contrasted to our preoccupation with our way which is too often is about loving things and using people. The litmus test for our motivation, action, outcome and legacy of our living is in the discovery of what matters most.