Our watery planet is getting drier
By Galen Larson
The last installment of a series of Denver Post articles about water and water rights should send cold chills down the spine of everyone on the Western Slope who has water rights – pioneers and newcomers, city-dwellers and agricultural irrigators alike.
While we argue and debate and wring our hands over the price of fuel, we remain blithely deaf to the largest and most serious threat to our way of life – the rapidly approaching monster of drought. This potential looms both because of climate change and the unrelenting need for more water because of expanding population.
A shortage of fossil fuels and petroleum products may be the best thing that happens to us. We may have to get off our asses and work, which could alleviate a lot of costly health problems.
But without water one cannot walk very far, nor raise the necessary foodstuffs to nourish our bodies.
Money is a big factor in this water rights battle, and money will control the amount supplied and to whom. Senior water rights are going to be worth a fortune and there are already water-brokers out there willing to pay big money to purchase those water rights. They know that whoever controls the water, controls the future and fortunes of any given area.
We laugh and compare the price of fossil fuels to what we are now paying for bottled water, but at present we are paying that price not because we have to but for the status it seems to invoke. It may even be an experiment by those in power to see just how foolish and gullible we are and to train us to accept the even-more exorbitant prices they will charge for this life necessity in coming years.
Many people have pointed out that there is a fixed amount of water on this earth and it will remain constant — no more, no less – and that is true, of course (although it must be remembered that much of that water is in the salty oceans).
The equation changes drastically, however, when one factors in the population explosion.
In October the world population surpassed 7 billion; in the United States we are climbing over 320 million.
I have been told that Colorado’s population is expected to grow by 20 million in just a few decades, and all of those folks will want clean, potable water and fresh produce from our farms – not to mention water for lawns, washing clothes, fighting fires and more.
Can we have all that? It will be a difficult balancing act, but one that should be addressed sooner rather than later. There is no guarantee that the water rights will always remain in good hands as the producers of our food get older and large corporations force or buy them out, along with their water rights.
Take the Montezuma Water Company, of which I am a member. Their sole business is the selling of water, not the producing of any other tangible commodity. At the moment we have a board and manager from our local citizenry and they seem to do a good job of managing the company. But who knows down the road if it could be gobbled up by an outside interest?
We peons always say, “It can’t happen here,” but “can’t” is not a word used in the corporate world. Corporations can, do and will take over everything that can control the masses, from fuel and water to health care and property.
All one has to do is look and see that food and water, the components of life, are already contaminated and in short supply. “Go forth and multiply” – well, we do that expeditiously, not seeming to realize we are creating shortages of our natural resources.
He left us with the urge to propagate but not the wisdom to save his Garden of Eden. As with a runaway truck, the longer the hill, the faster it goes. When it hits bottom there will be one hell of a wreck.
Oh, well, we assume we won’t be here. Fair enough, but is this what we want to leave our great-great-grandchildren?
The corporations, bless their kind souls, divert our attention by exclaiming, “Save money for our heirs!” but never say, “Save the environment.” Isn’t that a little odd?
We can sustain ourselves through the environment but gold makes for mighty poor soup and is only worth what the corporate masters deem it worth.
I have some friends that livd overseas, have great jobs and are paid a substantial amount for living expenses. But in some countries where they have lived, money is of no use as the food and water is either contaminated or non-existent.
When they leave the land of plenty for their sojourns, they stock their suitcases and boxes with the essentials and then many times travel to other European countries to replenish them. No matter how much money they have, they cannot purchase water and foodstuffs in many areas, and it keeps getting worse.
How many here are willing to trade their fresh vegetables and federally inspected products for a bowl of gruel?
With that I’ll leave one and all with a difficult task: Think, think, think.
At this moment there is a person with the appropriate name of Million — no kidding! — who is forming a corporation to siphon water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir and pipe it to Denver.
Do you think he is going to give it to Denver residents? He and his corporation will have control.
Think about that.
Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.