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Monday, April 03, 2006

Water, Water Everywhere, But Hardly a Drop to Drink?

Published on Saturday, April 1, 2006 by 
by John Buell
A Toronto Star editorial recently called a frightening irony to our attention. On the same day a UN report warned that over a billion people world wide face growing shortages of water, American scientists announced they found evidence of water on Enceladus, a far-off moon of Saturn. Some have argued that global warming may already be inducing long term changes in weather patterns resulting in many regional droughts. Regardless of the truth of this contention, there are more immediate and obvious challenges to the amount and integrity of our water supply. If we do not address these concerns, we might consider booking reservations on the next shuttle to Saturn.
Since 9/11, the media have been full of speculation regarding oil shortages and wars over oil. On a daily basis, however, far more people are dying from shortages of drinkable water, and tensions over access to water are intensifying even in the so called developed world. Struggles over water have long been keys to the history of the Southwestern United States.
Maine, Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, and the Great Lake States all appear to be well endowed with clean fresh water, yet appearances can be deceiving. Here in Maine, mercury pollution makes some of our fresh water fish dangerous to eat. Long battles have been waged against corporations that would treat our rivers as free sinks for industrial discharges.


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