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Water Wasters

Date: 15 February, 2007

By: Chief

Imageell (a very deep subject), according to the purported experts who attended the world water summit which was held in Mexico City last year, farmers are the main culprits when it comes to wasting water. Can you believe that idiocy? I couldn't either. Nonetheless, they said it. What is worse is these self appointed nobles believe the crap they are spewing to all within earshot.

Attending this conference (abortion) were representatives from France, Spain, the U.S. and a host of other countries. Quoting the AP:

"Farming accounts for 70 percent of the water consumed and most of its wasteful use, said representatives of 130 nations at the World Water Forum discussing water management."

Wasteful use? I do not think so.

What do farmers use water for anyhow? To grow crops. Duh. And these crops are then used for three basic purposes:

There are other uses for the crops farmers produce but, historically, those are the big three.

Ute Collier, of the World Wildlife Fund said:

"We can't afford to waste water in irrigation systems that are 30 to 40 percent efficient. If we could get that part of the equation done, we could probably cut down the number of dams we're building by half, at least."

For those who are unaware, there are certain crops that require an irrigation technique that is known as field flooding. Alfalfa is one of these. Alfalfa is used to feed livestock which, in turn, we consume either through meat from beef cattle or dairy cattle products. Additionally, certain types of crops are more water intensive than others. Cotton falls into that category.

Furthermore, certain types of fruit and nut trees require much more water than others. That is just how it is.

Let me explain what happens here for just a minute. When a farmer irrigates his fields the water is in no way wasted. What the crops do not absorb through their roots is soaked into the ground and back into the water table. What water evaporates into the sky is reused someplace else. It is not wasted.

Another thing is that modern irrigation equipment is unbelievably expensive. Just cementing a main irrigation ditch costs a bundle of cash. Purchasing a linear or center pivot above ground irrigation system can easily set a farmer back hundreds of thousands of dollars. And that is not even discussing the maintenance costs on the blasted contraption. That is why a lot of farmers still use the good old gravity fed furrow irrigation system.

Dairymen are some of the best at reusing water. Dairies are required to use fresh, clean water to wash the cows and milking stalls prior to each milking. Considering that dairy cows are milked three times a day that is a lot of water which is used. However, dairymen take that now 'dirty water' or green water as it is called and pump it into holding ponds. The dirty water holding ponds are subsequently combined with fresh water to irrigate the corn and triticale which will be later harvested for silage and cow candy. A very efficient method if you ask me. A side benefit of this method is that little, if any, commercial fertilizer is needed for these crops.

What people and these purported experts tend to forget is this rather mundane fact — farmers, dairymen and ranchers produce what the entire human race needs in the worst way to survive — food. You can have all the water you want but if you don't have food you are going to die.

Although according to Michel Rocard, former prime minister of France, the solution is quite simple. He said:

"There are great problems with irrigation. We must persuade our farmers to go to less extensive crops. It's a question of changing the whole agricultural method" (Quote from AP).

How brilliant. In other words just tell farmers not to grow enough food. A typical bureaucratic solution. And coming from a Frenchman sounds a wee bit Marie Antoinetteish. You might want to check your neck Rocard.

Real water wasters

While reading the story this tidbit of information caught my eye:

"Many of the world's poor live on less than 2.5 gallons of water per day — one-thirtieth of the daily usage in developed nations" (Quote from AP).

To put that into context those who live in developed nations use 75 gallons of water per day. That is an awful lot of water. Additionally, most people who live in developed countries tend to live in concrete jungles also known as rat warrens, mazes or cities.

It is of no minor consequence to realize that concrete and blacktop do not absorb water worth a tinker's damn, so when it rains all that water simply becomes runoff and ends up who knows where. That, my friends, is one example of wasted water.

But are there any others? I hope to shout. How about such things (that people take for granted) as:

The list could go on but I figure you got the point.

Okay so now who is actually wasting water? Does a hot tub or spa actually produce anything useful or needed? Absolutely not. Water fountains in front of buildings may look pretty but what happens to all of that water? It could be put to a much better use. Have you converted your shower head to a low-flow design? The low-flow can reduce water consumption by upwards of 50%. The same is true with low-flow faucets. And let's get real, who actually needs their very own personal swimming pool? Nobody.

I really do not understand how so many supposedly well educated people who spoke at this conference on global water usage could be so ever lovin' stupid. No where within the AP story was anything mentioned about wasted water from the rat warrens so prevalent throughout western Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Not a single word. Only the farmers, ranchers and dairymen were singled out as the sole source of this evil. I'll tell you straight up, I would rather have a farmer using water to irrigate his field of corn than some high-hat business concern wasting water to keep the grass green on a golf course.

Those people whose apparent main goal in life is to complain about farmers, ranchers and dairymen should at least have the decency not to do so with their mouth full.

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