There's a whole more ways that water moves in products. Bottled beverages, dairy products, agricultural products and much more. In November, CNN posted an article on how groundwater in Arizona (yes, super-dry Arizona) is being used to grow alfalfa that is shipped to Saudi Arabia (where the use of groundwater for agricultural products has been prohibited) to feed cattle for Saudi dairy products.
Dropping groundwater levels are not just a problem of water supply for residents; cities are impacted, too, threatening the water supply of thousands. And when aquifers drop, the ground surface compacts, resulting in land subsidence. And changes in land use have resulted in other problems; the CNN article documents floods of silt that have impacted local homes due to changes in runoff patterns.
Arizona passed a law back in 1980, the Arizona Groundwater Protection Act, that established "Active Management Areas" around Phoenix, Tucson and other high-growth areas, but does not address agricultural use of groundwater. (This article on the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association blog describe the Act and provides background on why it was passed.) Foreign interests are exploiting the lack of protection for the resource and are 'mining' the resource to move groundwater, as products, from this very thirsty region.
We should take time to think about this... it's easier to feel outrage about Arizona water feeding Saudi cows than it is about Midwestern schoolkids eating Arizona citrus. But we are all part of the problem... and we all need to be part of developing and implementing smart laws and effective protection measures to protect our water resources.
|LWV Upper Mississippi River Region||