Posting in Environment
Scientists studied the state of the river system and it isn't looking so good.
There's quite a bit of water pollution in the United States and Europe.
Not only will the poor state of the rivers affect our water supply, it will affect the plants and animals in it.
University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers found that “pollution, water diversion, and introduced species” were the main culprits behind the threatened river system.
In a unique look at biodiversity and water security, the researchers mapped the water pollution.
Yes, humans have always been attracted to water and built entire communities along rivers.
Yet, we continue to pollute it.
The researchers used computer models to map out what the perceived threats were and ranked them accordingly.
The process can be repeated over and over again to suit any government or regional needs. So the more data, the better.
If the river system is the lifeline to our planet, the map shows some clear signs of trouble. We depend on rivers to renew our water supply.
Not surprisingly, the rivers in the best shape are the remote ones. Water coming out of the Arctic water is good.
Pollution comes from so many different sources. The result is fish in Colorado changing genders, traces of drugs coming in through our faucets, and a certain superbug swimming in the Indian water supply.
Coal-fired power plants release mercury into the atmosphere and pollute nearby water supplies. All of these unwanted chemicals are making their way into our river supply.
However, the study didn't get a grasp on all of these possible threats. However, the researchers said there are a "slew of chemicals flowing through our waterways."
It's not all doom from here. Water needs to be better managed. Agriculture uses up to 90 percent of the water supply. If all our water goes to producing enough food to feed the world's population, then there won't be enough for the fish and plants to survive. With the help of satellites and sensors, water can be managed better.
UW-Madison's professor Peter McIntyre said in a statement, "What made our jaws drop is that some of the highest threat levels in the world are in the United States and Europe. Americans tend to think water pollution problems are pretty well under control, but we still face enormous challenges."
Photo: Barry Carlsen
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Oct 4, 2010
If the water is clean enough to discharge it is clean enough to reuse. A simple way to enforce this would be to put all sewage discharge pipes upstream of the water intake of the industry/municipality. There would be a sudden interest in self regulation.
Linking Superbug To India "Is Totally Irrational" Say Indian Authorities http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/197625.php
In most cases, industrial pollution is no longer the biggest problem. We have all kinds of laws, regulations, and inspection to monitor these issues, and the guilty parties are quickly identified (though with our legal process it may take time to force changes). Big industrial polluters are relatively easy to catch. They were only a problem in the first place because back in the 19th and early 20th centuries nobody realized the dangers. The biggest problem today is with pollution coming from homes and small businesses. People consume all kinds of drugs; these go through the body and eventually get flushed into the general water supply. Urine contains all kinds of dissolved salts. Each home creates only a small problem, but over tens of millions of households it all adds up. Most of these drugs are necessary. Even soaps and detergents get flushed into the general water supply and there's no effective way to eliminate them. It's a similar problem with fertilizers and pesticides on the farm. Farms get vilified for "dumping" these chemicals into river systems. However, the truth is that these chemicals are very expensive and are a significant cost of production. No farmer is careless about how these chemicals are applied because of cost alone (if you don't believe that, you should watch crop dusting sometime -- pilots and their ground assistants are under huge pressure to get the chemicals applied only on the crops). Even "natural" fertilizers such as manure cause major pollution problems (they are very high in nitrogen). But small amounts of chemicals will always escape the fields, and because major rivers such as the Mississippi drain thousands of square miles of farmland, it all adds up. There's no cheap and effective way to eliminate these dissolved materials once they enter the water system. The only way to deal with the problem is to minimize the amount entering the water system in the first place.
How about the gas fracing going on now also. There starting to lease land up here in Pennsylvania. Problem is, everywhere they drill, the ground water is screwed. HBO special titled "Gas Land" (I believe) was very interesting.
As was once said, tongue in cheek, about commercial pollution of our rivers, make all companies put their intake downstream from their outlet and the problem will cure itself.
The WORLD has a water crisis. America is simply a part of that. We may not be at the epicenter, but we are impacted.
You all must be too young to remember what it used to be like. Today's pollution is nothing like it was 40 years ago when we started the cleanup. Google "Cuyahoga River" and read what real pollution was... Seriously, we still have issues, but we have come so far it is unbelievable. 40 years ago it was a crisis. Today it is just an ongoing effort.
Actually, global warming adds to water pollution in a "natural" way. Rising sea levels in combination with diversion of river water to both agricultural & urban use results in saltwater intrusion into river deltas. The delta ecosystems that evolved around fresh water can't handle the saltwater. This isn't just a theory, it's happening to the river I live next to. And then there's groundwater depletion...
It'd be great if those who comment would give credentials - how do you know what you do about the crisis? Making suggestions suggests that you're experts, but it'd be nice to accompany your good suggestions with credentials because more people will listen. Thanks!
Yes and it has for many years. Local, state and national politicians fail to recognize and understand this as a major problem and have ignored expert recommendations to correct as best as possible the problems confronting the nation.
We are in more of a crisis than most people know of. They must keep it quiet, as the cost to clean the water is right now more than we can afford in money and added taxes. Yet the pollution is killing and poisoning and sickening the people that drink just plain old tap water. Our tap water is no longer safe. It must meet federal standards, but those standards are also manipulated. Have a nice glass of hormones and drugs with your water. And watch kidney and liver and breast cancer keep rising. Did you know that kidney disease is now on an exponential curve? And this same water is feed to the plants and animals that we eat, along with more hormones that they digest.
How close to a crisis,I don't know, as part of an uninformed public, such knowledge is not widespread. "traces of drugs coming in through our facets, and a certain superbug swimming in the Indian water supply." I presume you meant to write faucets. Many dams were built as flood control projects, true damming rivers changes the way it would work naturally, but large cities cannot get enough water from just a river by itself. Some kind of water pipeline needs to be vreated to move flood waters form where they are to someone who needs water. A few 60 in pipelines could move water fairly quickly, they coldn't move all of the flood waters , every "little" bit helps. The thing would be to figure out the best place to build from and to. Maybe existing pipelins coud be set to pump away insted of into (Oklahoma City has some 60 in dia pipelines from remote lakes to bring water in, maybe they could be reversed to pump flood waters away.) I would guess that there are other cities with large water pipelines, as well. The environmental impact of setting them up (underground or above ground) would have to be considered, all costs involved, etc. before going ahead with such a project. The site says: Name: You are currently: Logged in | Log Out But yet when I submit my comment, I have to login again, somone needs to makeup the computer's mind!
I am more concerned about water pollution and its effects than I am about the impact of CO2 on climate. The global warming industry has been diverting money and attention from real pollution issues.
Yes the USA does have a clean water crisis. What needs to be done is to require ANY company and or entity using water to thoroughly clean it of added waste and pollutants they add BEFORE discharging it back into the environment. Additionally, we need to get away from all the hazardous chemical pesticides, and fertilizers both commercial and consumer. Unless we do that, we will be in really big trouble.