Streamline - Summer 2012 - (Page 7)
BY MARK ESTES, VRWA PRESIDENT
SEVERAL WEEKS AGO
With twothirds of our groundwater used for crop irrigation, we will soon experience water shortages equal to food shortages.
while in Washington D.C. at the rally, I had an opportunity to eat at one of our favorite restaurants not far from Union Station. The cuisine was German and both the food and service were excellent. I remember the waiter encouraging us to try the Cordon Bleu chicken that is the house special. The waiter described the chicken as being “free range.” I knew what he meant, but I just wanted to hear his version of an emancipated chicken. We always called them yard birds. They were free to roam at home; however, they chose to stay close by and near the safety of the coop. I asked the waiter how far did he (chicken) range…. from D.C. to New York? Now there is a thought, a chicken feeding from anything on the ground between those two metropolitan areas. I chuckled to myself and politely declined, fully convinced that a control-fed poultry product was the safe gamble. Besides that, who could bring themselves to eat a chicken “with a dream?” One of the most difficult challenges with my quarterly article is the title. I usually vacillate between diatribe, opinion and praise, depending on the issues I have been addressing. I want to devote a few moments to an issue that is cumulative and what I believe our industry may see in the very near future. My elders had a different meaning for the phrase “making water” that would be more suited for the wastewater audience. Today, I want you to envision how our next generation of operators will be able to make water “work” for their family and community. What will be the driving forces and the determining factors in consumption and affordability? After many years of modest grain stocks, food prices have been soaring this past year. The credit crisis, fuel prices and the ardent speculation over declining grain stocks have combined in a world where corn is used more for ethanol production than for consumption. Contributing to the onslaught are the rising pesticide and fertilizer costs associated with escalating production and transportation costs. A perfect food storm is developing. What we need to be watching is something we work with everyday – water. We are beginning to place stress on our surface water sources. With two-thirds of our groundwater used for crop irrigation, we will soon experience water shortages equal to food shortages. An alarming number of countries are up against the limits of their food production because the limit resides in the water supply. For example, the water in the Nile River no longer reaches the sea because all of its water is used for irrigation... to supply food. Here in the United States we take drinking water for granted. I had a customer ask, “Why do you charge for water anyway? You didn’t make it, God did.” My immediate response was “God created lightning; can you get it to your house?” I am not sure where my unscripted response came from, but it ended the conversation. Drinking water is not a cheap commodity; nor is it an unlimited resource. There is an enormous amount of operator skill and dedication that can neither be discounted nor diminished in purifying water for drinking. I believe in the not-too-distant future, local water shortages will send a resounding and cumulative effect throughout the world, creating higher food prices and food shortages everywhere. I hope I am wrong. Conference was a great success and we owe it all to YOU! A big shout out to our members, attendees, corporate sponsors, vendors, instructors and VRWA staff. If you did not get a chance to attend, you missed out on the best fun, fellowship and food in Virginia. Plan on being in Roanoke next year for our silver (25th) Annual Conference and Exposition where we will celebrate our rich history in Virginia’s water and wastewater industry. You had better sign up early next year…we had a full house! God Bless!
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Summer 2012
From the President
From the Executive Director
Summer Conservation Considerations
Southampton County: A Story of Progress
Board Members Quiz
Conference 2012 Highlights
The Town of Lebanon-One Small Step for Man
Drakes Branch Distribution System Upgrade
A Proper Rate-Virginia RATES Program
Missing Water Found
Throwing My Loop
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Summer 2012