October 19, 2018

Credit: (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

If you try to imagine what a dystopian future would look like, you might conjure up aliens invading Earth, or robots overpowering humans. But according to author Seamus McGraw, the problems of the future are more down-to-earth than some may imagine. In his book, A Thirsty Land: The Making Of An American Water Crisis, McGraw writes about how water scarcity in Texas could turn into a crisis that affects all Americans. And it could happen sooner rather than later.

Three Takeaways:

  • The average human uses about 135 gallons of water a day. Although most of it is drinkable water, only 10 percent of it enters our bodies. McGraw says that the problem isn’t that there isn’t enough water, but that it isn’t being used responsibly. He points out that not all water is created equal, and wasting safe drinking water poses a major threat, especially to Texans. 
  • McGraw says that water has become a commodity, and access to it will determine which communities thrive in the future. Because national, state, and local governments have abdicated their responsibility towards this issue, McGraw says it’s largely been left to individuals to take action (though he does think there will be a place for big-water government projects in the future).
  • There’s no “i” in water. McGraw says this is a nationwide problem, and what happens in Texas affects other parts of the country. And that applies to other states, too. Dry lands are getting drier, and wet places are getting wetter. And McGraw says that addressing droughts is just as important as managing heavy rainfall and understanding how it affects our water systems.

More Reading:

  • You may have to think twice before drinking tap water. The New York Times looks into the areas that are struggling to meet safe drinking water standards.
  • North America is long overdue for another megadrought. Quartz explores what might happen when the next big one strikes. 
  • The people of Flint haven’t had clean drinking water for years. FRONTLINE investigates how much that affected their health and livelihoods. 

Green, Seamus McGraw, texas, water

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