Water

We had more rain than usual this summer.  And it often seemed to come at inopportune times, interfering with planting schedules.  Our fall gardens are about a month behind schedule thanks to too much rain.

Meanwhile California is experiencing a severe drought and farms there are suffering badly.

Water is abundant here.  So much so that it’s easy to take it for granted.  We have dry spells and even droughts sometimes, but there’s always plenty of water for irrigation.

For much of the world that isn’t the case however.  Water is precious.

Looking down at the Sahara Desert from the air it’s possible to see where there once were rivers and lakes there. Just because there is plenty of water in a place now doesn’t mean there always will be.

Some experts predict that the most dangerous and deadly conflicts in the future will not be over ideology, but rather over water.  The seeds for such conflicts are being sown throughout the world these days.

So as I fret over muddy gardens and delayed plantings, I remind myself to pause a minute, and be thankful for the water.

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21 comments on “Water

  1. Aruna says:

    “Some experts predict that the most dangerous and deadly conflicts in the future will not be over ideology, but rather over water. ” That is a rather scary thought. Since we are in the middle of water shortages in some areas here in SA due to delayed rains and intense heat, I am feeling rather grateful for the measly 2 minute scattered shower we had today.

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    • Bill says:

      It’s easy to take water for granted, especially in places like here ,where it is usually plentiful. But less than 1% of the water on the planet is drinkable, and it is really is a precious thing.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    There’s a small skirmish in the water wars taking place south of me. They’re building a pipeline to drain water out of the Colorado river to supply Corpus Christi, even farther to the south. No problem, right? Creative. Unless you’re a rice farmer in one of two or three counties who is going to lose the water you’ve used to irrigate your fields. I think a glance toward the weeds might show some unintended consequences lurking there.

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    • Bill says:

      Texas is definitely one of the places where there are now and will continue to be urban/agricultural conflicts over water. Texas is booming these days and all those new Texas city-dwellers will need water. The same thing is happening in California and brewing elsewhere.

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  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I’ve mentioned before that I have family that lives in Las Vegas. For decades Arizona, Nevada, and California have fought over the rights to the water in the Colorado river. Most people think about food when disaster hits but the most important thing that’s needed immediately is water. The human body won’t last much longer than three days without water. Decades ago when I was a young man, three British prisoners decided to go on a hunger strike until they were released. The news media at that time followed the course of these prisoners through 63 to 65 days when they all died of self imposed starvation. So when my kids were impatient about wanting food right now, my comment was always, “It takes 63 days to starve to death so I think you can wait a few minutes more before eating.” I personally have done religious fasting for a week with normal daily work activities. So I know from personal experience that life can go on for quite a while with little or no food but water …. not so much. I believe that water could definitely be more precious than food in the future days.

    Have a great being thankful for water day.

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    • Bill says:

      More is being asked of the Colorado River than it can do. The situation there is unsustainable, drought or no drought.

      You’re right of course. Going without food for a few days will make us uncomfortable. Going a few days without water will kill us.

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  4. I was thinking about water myself yesterday, as I used copious quantities to wash all the feeders and waterers used by the pigs and chickens over the summer. During the summer, the animals themselves drank quite a bit, and the pigs had water added to their wallow daily (about 3 minutes with the hose twice a day). Hay Guy irrigated my bottom field so he could get a second cut of hay – that was days and days of several hours of a huge sprinkler running. Farming uses quite a bit of water, even on my micro scale.

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    • Bill says:

      I thought of it this summer when I was rinsing and washing produce, with the spigot flowing the whole time. We use lots of water and we have lots to use. Meanwhile there are folks all over the world trying to grow food and having to carefully manage their water while they do it.

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  5. I agree it will come down to water and it could be sooner than we’d like to think. I’m no prepper and I live in the very wet Pacific Northwest – but we are taking steps toward water security for a variety of reasons – the one you bring up is one, but not at the top of the list [ yet].
    We are digging in swales on contour to help slowly soak and hold water into the soil (the soil is cheaper than a cistern!) and building more organic matter/supporting the soil biology so it holds more water which is also good for the plants. We are digging in several ponds – the overflow spilling into the swales. We are catching rain from every building. We are building large hugelkultur – basically raised beds on steroids beds (buried logs, branches covered with soil and planted out). The logs hold a lot of moisture and break down slowly over time also slowly releasing nutrients for the plants. Grey water systems and composting toilets factor in as well.
    Water is our most precious resource and yet we flush zillions of gallons down the drain and then treat it with toxic chemicals. There’s a system that needs a “rethink”!
    OK, I’m stepping down from my soapbox now.

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    • Bill says:

      I really admire what y’all are doing on your place. If I was starting now I’d do many of those things here too. I was completely unaware of permaculture when we were restoring and reviving our farm.

      Our cultural misuse of water is definitely rantworthy. Just think of the insanity of our bottled water craze.

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  6. avwalters says:

    I am thankful for water–even though rains have repeatedly sidelined our building efforts. We had our well drilled last week–113 feet to clean, clear water. Not everyone has such luck.

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    • Bill says:

      Congrats on the good well! Of course you know as well as anyone how much rain can interfere with our plans. Our wet summer messed up a lot of my plans, but on the other hand the pastures are lush. I don’t expect I’ll need to buy any hay this year, and if I do it will be cheap.

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  7. EllaDee says:

    Both of us from the country, the G.O. and I habitually keep an eye on natural phenomena. I detest city water with its treatment and wastage (I boil & filter it for drinking). At our home in the country we have 2 rainwater tanks with a third planned, and garden that survives on water from the sky only. There we drink our water straight from the tap. We live as people always did prior to infrastructure, reservoirs and desalination plants with more or less rain. At least you never are never short of a conversation topic, the weather and rain the abundance or lack, is ongoing and universal.
    But seriously, unless we pay more attention, water is going to be the new oil.

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    • Bill says:

      Water as the new oil–I think you may be right about that.

      We’re fortunate to have well water here. Tastes great and isn’t processed and controlled by the city.

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  8. Speaking from a Northern California/Southern Oregon perspective, water is definitely something to be thankful for. –Curt

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    • Bill says:

      Reading an article about what is happening to farms in California these days is what prompted me to post this. There is a desperate need there for something we tend to take for granted here.

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      • There is always the question as to whether it is a temporary setback, Bill, or a long term problem. Beyond the reality of the drought, there is also the fact that much of California’s farming is iffy at best. For example: Growing water intensive crops in the California’s southern Central Valley, which is close to a desert under the best of circumstances, has always been questionable. – Curt

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      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        I’m glad it was you who said this first Curt…
        Having grown up on a farm with a hand-dug, now two hundred+ years old well, water was something we thought of every day. When showers were taken, the tap was turned on to get wet, off whiling washing and back on to rinse. On Washing Day, my mother used the old wringer-washer to pre-soak/wash multiple loads (starting with whites/light colours and ending with dark) of laundry before they went into the top-loader to finish. Once the clothes were done, the grey water went into buckets for the garden.
        Carrying water by the pail out to the barn for the animals in winter literally made you watch every drop and, to this day, no matter where I am; I still turn off the tap between wetting the brush and rinsing my teeth.
        Water Stewardship is something we should all practice, no matter where we live. As Bill pointed out earlier, fresh, potable water is a very limited resource and, as I was brought up – that we’re to use only what we need – to waste or sully it is a sin of the worst kind.
        There’s another soapbox heard from; )

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      • And a fine soapbox it was, Deb. –Curt

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  9. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Some of the longest-standing disagreements on this planet have been, and continue to be, about water and the rights to use it – The Original “Haves & Have Naught”.
    As to altering natural water flow? Perhaps it should be compulsory to practice the water conservation techniques that “Le Femme Farmer” has put into use? Before any alterations and shortages get any worse…

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    • Bill says:

      Those permaculture techniques make a lot of sense and help us marshall and wisely use the water available to us. It would be great to see them more widely used.

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