Water


WATER EMERGENCY 2020

“You don’t miss our water till your well runs dry”? The USA now has approximately 23% of the planet’s most affordably farmable lands, which are useless without water.

To support Green progress, thinking globally and acting locally used to be enough. We now need to realize that local and global ecological disasters are inseparable.

Water experts’ best estimates show that Colorado needs a miracle to keep from running dry by 2020. Why? Colorado is the source of much of the water enabling downstream farms to keep producing the crops that feed most Americans. Downstream city dwellers also depend on Colorado water for drinking, bathing, electricity and cooling of power plants. Yet, some individuals seem to think that we can get by with a non-miraculous water management plan, which won’t be finished until 2016. The Ogala Aquifer will be useless, dry, by 2030 — unless we co-create a miracle first.

Do we need to do the math or simply pray more, while continuing business and water waste as obliviously as usual…? No — that is not the Way of either a New Green Paradigm or “the Fifth World” prophesied by Hopi See-ers of ancient times.

Colorado’s Water Courts are virtually useless or worse. The current approach to our water use is hopelessly obsolete. Colorado water law guarantees the worst case scenario for profit. Who profits from Colorado’s current water law paradigm? Well, other than water rights lawyers, corporate water miners with the most vested interests and political (monetary) influence call the shots. A defective plan will damage the whole valley of the Rio Grande, downstream farms & cities, and the whole biosphere.

Thinking that water rights and water law issues are too complicated or complex to bother with ensures less than good results, plus a continuation of insane business-as-usual. That is not just my opinion. It is the essence of the message given by Hopi elder Lawrence Monaki during his 2012 presentation here, on the significance of Hopi prophecies about 2012, the year, (“it’s like New Year’s Eve”). Monaki reported on the symptoms and possibilities of this increasingly extreme transition to the future — being created by all of us, with each and every decision.

In response to a question about what we can do to help bring water back, Monaki said that there is plenty of water and, essentially, that the problem involves who decides who gets it and how. The only special prayer suggested was for “a good judge” (in our Water Court). Other answers made it clear that active involvement, engagement, and participation are essential to protect our Mother Earth, our childrens’ biosphere, and to creating the new world prophesied by Monaki’s ancestors.

Did we need a Hopi prophecy to remind us of the fact that we create the future in each moment of the present?

For some of us, maybe so. Albert Einstein offered a timely reminder: The world will not be destroyed by evil, but by those who stand by and do nothing about it. Gandhi restated an ancient truth realized by Buddha: Be the change you wish to see in the world. The quality of life and government are determined by what we contribute to both.

Narcissistic delusion and denial are unrealistic and destructive. Under-funded, under-staffed activists cannot solve all of our massive problems or even accomplish The Mission on their own.

What kind of miracle do we really need?

First, we need to examine the nature and causes of our problem. Was it farming? No, it was and is lack of respect and waste of the water pumped out of the rivers and aquifers to the east and west of the Rockies and, from here in the San Luis Valley, downstream (in New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico). What waste? Unsustainable water use by inappropriate agriculture, unGreen farms & ranches, by businesses, cities, suburbs, towns, yards, toilets, and ignorant people who fail to care enough about water quantity and quality.

We need a combination of action and extensive re-education and communication about the alternatives to unGreen land use and water use laws & policy that no longer make sense. With the power of well informed unity in action, the possible miracle is a national emergency program for water recovery.

What would that look like?

One possibility is a series of large-scale, solar-powered water desalinization plants along US coasts. They would feed a massive network of pipelines carrying replacement water for irrigation and for recharging streams and aquifers. Absurd? Folks may hate oil pipelines, but think them absurd? Before they were built, did anyone think thousands of miles of Roman aquaeducts were silly? Maybe, but history proved them wrong. Are giant water pipes running up the Rio Grande valley, the Colorado watershed, etc., a perfect solution? No, but there is no better solution.

People have been drying up the Great Plains and watersheds of the West and Southwest for a very long time. The only way to correct the problem is replacement, ASAP.

Can we save ourselves from ourselves by 2020 or 2030? Maybe, maybe not, but do we have any acceptable alternatives? Ecocide and more foolishness only create worse results, but you may well wonder who will pay for such a massive project and how?

An alliance of businesses, towns, cities, counties, states, and national governments can provide funding and in-kind contributions. The oil industry, Big AgriBiz, and other corporate water users can help. Why should they? What choice will they have?

President Jimmy Carter was scoffed for telling us to make the ecological crisis the moral equivalent of war. Nobody laughed when FDR approved the Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb before the Nazis could. Nobody will laugh about the decision to provide enough water to drink and grow crops for food or to prevent a famine and a violent water war.

The best reason for enthusiastic commercial support is the potential. The lively economy of a healthy culture are sustained by healthy, happy people. Healthy ecosystems are more “productive” and more conducive to financial success. Have we ever heard about wonderful business success and tax revenues in Ethiopia or Darfur? Institutional insanity and popular support for destructive commercialism fail to support a sustainably healthy economy. The best results depend on lots of clean water, free of synthetic toxins, mutagens, and other harmful industrial wastes. Thriving local economies are not sustained by catastrophic commercial corruption.

Why should corporations volunteer financing, grant funding, and in-kind contributions for a national Water Emergency Recovery Project?

Financially, big business is the main perpetrator and victim of atrocious waste (of water, etc.). People who lack enough water and food, or can’t afford either, make poor customers. With abundant water for crops and other critical uses, the commonwealth of the nation can blossom. Culture could evolve to sustain a healthy, lively economy. Corporations that help build the water plants and pipeline network would receive appropriate tax breaks and incentives. A corporate director or executive who backs the recovery program would be seen as a hero to stockholders. For failing to support a real solution, opponents would be seen as enemies, suffering terrible risks and dangers.

Without a real solution, Peak Water may make the Peak Oil crisis and energy wars look relatively tame.

What this suggests will take more than a 4 year “Manhattan Project” for substantial water recovery. Rehydrating the lands west of the Mississippi, recharging the aquifers and reversing desertification requires a national initiative more like the Apollo Program. Remember, most folks thought getting to the moon was absurd or simply impossible.

What’s at stake here is the water and food most of us depend on. America is blessed with 23% of the world’s productive agricultural land, yet the Chinese are counting on it. Without water for sane farming and ranching on our best Western lands, too many people will be too hungry and thirsty for comfort or peace.

For the next 8 years, at least, nothing on the moon or anywhere outside our thin layer of life-sustaining biosphere compares with the value of enough water and food and peace.

Now is the time for truly effective thinking, planning, funding, and massive job creation to meet our deadline. America may not start looking like the wastelands of North Africa right away. Yet, without enough water, the view here could be far worse by 2030. If we fail, it will be the biggest deadline we ever missed.

Sustainable water quantity depends on healthy habitat. Complex communities of healthy plants, animals, and soils create and sustain high quality water in the springs, streams, wetlands, lakes and rivers that water us.

Please join and support activists and government officials dedicated to doing their best for your bioregion, for our biosphere, and for sustainable family farms and ranches. They all need a massive public show of informed concern and outrage, a letter writing campaign, emailing, blogging, phone calls and petitions showing strong support for the best planning and management for sustainable use of natural “resources” (water, land, etc.). If that seems to be failing, then more direct action will be necessary.

Our best officials are between the old rock and hard place perpetuated by a destructive monetary system, an obsolete socioeconomic paradigm, corporate oligarchy and Plutonomy, the End Game of plutocracy. Yet, together we can exercize our personal power to create sane, healthy change.

Please realize that all this applies to you and your bioregion, wherever you live. Do all you can to help your local/regional officials and activists make the best decisions. Foster the strongest possible action to protect and serve the best interests of all human beings of all generations.

Without the strong support, insistence, and persistence of a large majority of voters, donors, and consumers, most local and regional officials are either afraid to do their best or coerced into doing less than the best job of protecting us and our natural life support system (the biosphere, all the habitats and species that sustain the quality and quantity of water and human life). Many officials, agencies, and nonprofits are afraid of losing funding controlled by psychopaths who oppose healthy agriculture. We need to help them end subsidies for obsolete AgriBiz draining rural aquifers.

We all need to foster effective alliances for winning sufficient grants and votes supporting effective new water and land-use legislation, restoration, and conservation programs.

What public officials am I talking about? The official agency biologists and managers of the National Forest Service, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), and their Colorado State level counterparts. We can help Governors and state Legislators, judges and our elected federal officials & representatives to do their best. We can boycott ecocidal corporations, antiGreen Banksters, and psychopathic lobbyists.

You can do your best to help protect the quantity and quality of the single most important ingredient of human life and health (other than good air and sunlight), water. That means protecting local and regional habitats and species. Attend all meetings, hearings, and events involving water, water use, water quality, and water rights. If you think you need more information to understand the issues, go to Google or the library, to informative presentations or go back to school.

And, please, don’t think that you can’t make a difference. 2020 is only 6 (eight) short years ahead but, as Margaret Meade realized, the determined efforts of small groups of good people are the only thing that ever caused healthy change.

Forget about standing by and pretending that doing nothing about evil ruining the planet will get you anything better, greener, more advanced, or more enlightened. The sin of inappropriate inaction is a cause that always produces negative results.

In this case, we’re considering the potential impacts on all children, all parents, and all generations. We have no time either to lose or waste.

We have vitally important, extremely endangered habitat and species here in the Crestone-Baca area and the San Luis Valley. The other Colorado water basins are as short of “extra” water as we are, or more so. All watersheds are sources of life-giving water for millions of people from coast to coast. Now is the time for compassionate action to restore, preserve, and protect our natural life-support system and America’s future.

We need your care and support and on-the-ground efforts to help sustain the Crestone-Baca Watershed Council, the Environmental Stewardship Network, and all the other local and global organizations devoted to effective conservation, habitat restoration, sustainability education, and green policy advocacy.

Michael Monterey, Crestone, revised July 7, 2014

NOTE: The original was composed while I was co-researcher and director of PR & Publicity with Biosphere Coalition of the Southern Rocky Mountain Ecoregion, also helping to start the local Crestone-Baca Watershed Council

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One Comment to “Water”

  1. I just revised this to up-date the content for a slightly more global audience. The Water Court trial came and went, but the local-regional politics are still stuck in denial, greed, and ecocidal mania. There are promising signs of glacial progress. Yet, when enough of us start missing our water (and paying more for it) as the wells run drier, the pace of change may accelerate. Good Luck to Us All

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