It seems to me…all life depends on the sun, food and water. Now, we shouldn’t worry about the sun going out since we don’t have any control over it. And, if it does go out, we wouldn’t have to worry about food and water since we might end up as ice sculptures. But, as long as that source of light, energy and climate continues to shine, it is food and water, which we do have some control over, that we should protect at all cost.
However, our species, Homo sapiens, is treating both as though they will always be there and always be plentiful, clean and healthy. Unfortunately, this is not only a huge misunderstanding but a huge miscalculation. One would expect, since Homo sapiens, which translated from the Latin means, “wise man,” that humans would treat them with respect.
Sadly, every day there is growing evidence that humans’ wisdom is so warped that they worry more about their electronics, entertainment and “stuff in general,” but take for granted that their food and water will always be there in healthy quantity and quality.
But will they?
In the last century there was the philosophy embodied in the saying, “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Water covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface and the oceans are about 96.5% of the total and in its salty state is not good to drink or use on crops. That leaves only 3.5% for drinking and raising crops. So, Homo sapiens being wise men and women should be using it with care. But are we?
Water is inexpensive! On the average, water costs about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons or about a penny per gallon. This low price makes it a commodity we use daily that we take for granted especially when we are paying about $2.50 to $4.50 for auto gasoline and shelling out about $1 and up for a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer. Buy a beer at a Nationals’ or Redskins’ game and you will pay about $9.50.
Even a can of a so drink costs about 30 cents if you buy it in bulk or $1 to $3 in a restaurant or dispensing machine. Interestingly, all these drinks we consume are made with water.
Now, if you don’t just turn on the tap for a refreshing glass of water and prefer the bottled kind, you will pay on the average of $1.45. Bottled water comes from the same place that much of our tap water comes from — that is groundwater.
But marketing has led us to believe that bottled water is better than tap water and it probably is true if you live in a place like Flint, Michigan. But even those of us who live where the water supply is clean and healthy, have come to buying annually, on the average, 167 bottles of water per person in the U.S.
Even getting rid of water, or water containing products we consume, has a price. Just look at your water and sewer bill to see how much it cost you when you let the tap run, or water the lawn, or flush the toilet. In Stafford County, effective June 1, rates for a monthly bill per thousand gallons is $2.69 for 0 - 2,000 gallons, $6.36 for 3,000 – 4,000 gallons and other rates for higher usage. at doesn’t seem like a lot of money except a lot of it is used when you let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, excessively watering the lawn, washing the car or cars, showering, or cooking. A little math tells us that if there are more than 50,000 housing units in Stafford and if each one only uses 2,000 gallons per month, about 100 million gallons of water are used monthly. We know that number is higher because some homes use more than 2,000 gallons as do industry, restaurants and other commercial establishments. And this is only water used in Stafford County. Multiply this by all the jurisdictions in the U.S. and around the world.
So, the big question is, given that water is absolutely vital to life and with a constantly growing population that requires more and more water, why does the species Homo sapiens, endowed with a thinking reasoning brain, continue to pollute our water sources with pesticides, fertilizers, all sorts of chemicals and a wide range of items that deteriorate over time in water? Automobile and truck tires and even toilets, along with a myriad of plastic items and a vast array of other items, liquid and solid, have been found in the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers which are the prime water sources for our area. Trash and other debris that ends up in our streets, roads and parking lots makes its way through the outfall system to the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Both rivers are tidal.
Consequently, besides polluting our river water, some of these pollutants flow out to the bay and to the Atlantic Ocean. No longer is dilution the solution to pollution. ere is too much deposited in our rivers and streams so that now it is piling up on beaches around the world or floating like islands in some ocean or body of water around the world. Water is vital to our survival. We should guard it with care. We must not waste it or pollute it. If we don’t protect it, we and future generations could
inherit what’s stated in these lines of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:” Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.
Harvey Gold is a contributing writer at InsideNova. Reach him at Stafford-News@insidenova.com.