Week One Reflections
The author of “The Big Thirst” has done a great job in trying to show how important water is and how we do not appreciate its value. It is surprising that water can be torrential and deadly, yet we use it every day in literally everything, from rocket science to brushing our teeth before going to work! Fishman has given a detailed account of powerful machinery, such as rockets use of water, to the biology involving human and water. He blames the people for paying less for the water and not placing the true value it holds. One thing is evident: we cannot place any value on something that we get in abundance. This is the reason, why we will pay more since the population in the world has stopped to see water as an obvious commodity and will now treat it as scarce and rare, thus high value. Finally, the author has made clear that the era of clean and safe water is coming to an end. Water will be recycled, and its prices will shoot high.
Historically, water is vital for the process of civilization. Steven Solomon in his chapter Water: Water and the Start of Civilization, explains the role of waterways in civilization. We should remember that infrastructural development is vital in development of any economy. Transport was vital in civilization as people shared cultures and ideas. They interacted as a result of travelling. Water transport was among the oldest modes of transport. The ancient people knew the importance of waterways. We are, therefore, not surprised that Suez Canal was made to ease navigation. Without waterways, it would have been almost impossible to develop the world we have today. It is also interesting that land transport used water. Watt developed the first engine using water, and the first trains used steam. One thing that the author does not tell us is the separation that water can cause, besides joining people. Spain and Morocco are separated by the Strait of Gibraltar and the culture, development and the people is very different due to the 14.3kilometers of water. If the author had talked about this, we would know that, despite the joining role in civilization, water also blocks it because, if we look at Morocco and Spain, there is a conspicuous difference between these two cultures.
Despite the extensive water use, and reduced water levels in the world, most of the water is either unreachable or unusable to the human population. Some of it is held in glaciers, rocks and oceans. A high population has less than they need available to them. It is surprising that half of the earth fresh water is found in mere six countries. The rest of the world shares the other half. Can we, therefore, say that water is abundant? Absolutely not. Even during the periods when water availability was not threatened, some people lived in dire scarcity, such as those in the Palestinian Gaza strip. Water is abundant, but it is available in places where the population is less and needs less water, such as the countries near the poles. I guess that we can say that the resource is unfairly distributed on the earth’s surface and hope that no one will deny it.
Week Two Reflections
The water cycle is interesting to understand. It shows that water circulates within the atmosphere. Water moves up and down, but none escapes to space. It is, therefore, sensible to ask why the water levels are going down. Authors of different books say that water was created shortly after the formation of the earth. It is hard to understand why after all the billions of years the water level is dropping within the last hundred years. Authors still do not say where the reducing water is escaping.
Nobody could think that water can create an empire. We see a lot of water, but what it can do, cannot be explained easily. If we can ever think of Egypt’s early civilization, we can never elude from mentioning the River Nile. It is the source of life in Egypt, for all the years that historians have documented. Any of the Pharaohs who controlled the upper Nile controlled a whole empire. The country is an undesirable desert beyond the life-giving river. However, farming, pottery and architecture sprouted from the pharaohs who had their efforts focused on the water from River Nile. Egypt colonized other countries and even provided food for other people who migrated in search of food. A great architectural and cultural society was created, but it also created superiority that led to the renowned slavery of the Israelites in Egypt.
Water is the main components of human beings and other organisms. It is hard to believe that a single human red blood cell can carry millions of water molecules! How small is the molecule then? It is also hard to believe or even understand that some water in rocks does not exist as water, but as OH- and H+ molecules. They are not water at that point, and they would only turn into the water after they are released from the rocks. If all this is water, then I cannot understand why we are running out of water. We pride ourselves that we are well equipped with technology. Why then cannot we come up with ways to extract the water from the rocks, or even produce energy as the OH- ad the H+ atoms join? Should we continue mourning that there is not enough water, yet we know that there is an abundant amount of water all over the earth and the crust?
Week Three Reflections
Among the most polluted resource is water. It is as well the main cleansing agent and is home to millions of lives. It is the giver of life to man and ironically; it is among the most contaminated resources. In general terms, I am amazed at how insensitive man is. Polluting water is as gross as polluting themselves. Water is used everywhere by everybody, and there is rising worry as to why man can pollute the water he needs in every way of his life. Instead of guarding the depleting resources, the little water that is available is heavily polluted.
It is exciting to learn how water can change its faces. However, water scarcity is as disastrous as its excessive supply. Droughts and floods are equally destructive, and their avoidance was always an important aspect that ancient rulers gave preference. For an example, dykes were built, while irrigation schemes were developed in order to ensure that there were little possibilities of water related calamities occurring. When countries are at war today, among the leading ways to win is cutting the supply channel into the enemy country. The same this happened during the ancient times. However, the supply that was cut was water supply. It would be interesting to learn how people were restricted from accessing the most important commodity in life; water. Irrigation was the main restriction, subsistence modes of the local communities as well as the temporary structures that people used to divert water from its natural paths.
Week Four Reflections
It is said that the water levels on the earth surface is not reducing. This is hard to believe when we talk of water scarcity that was not there a few years ago. Gallons of water are still available, but they are not enough to feed the world population. While the Global Freshwater shortage map shows the areas where there will be full rationing due to insufficient water, they claim that the water level in the world is still stable at 2500 cubic kilometers. It is only the distributions that are bringing the scarcity. At this point, we should ask ourselves why the patterns are changing in a system that has worked for billions of years? More importantly, it is changing radically within a century.
Pierce in his book, “When the Rivers Run Dry” attempts to explain the change in distribution. He argues that the international trade handles a lot of gallons of virtual water. However, I do not think that the water taken up by plants and animals that are sold in the international market should create significant difference. If the trade were truly the case of the imbalance, then I guess, we would have had a region like Japan experiencing floods year after year because they are the biggest importers of virtual water. It cannot be easily understood, how true this information is.
The most beautiful natural scenes can never be complete without streams or, in other words, water. People even make aquariums and keep them close to their homes and residence, so that they can have the fascinating sites closer at home. In the US, for instance, Flamingo hotel has a whole stretch of two acres full of water features. The sites are just amazing, and they represent the true beauty of water. I tend to believe that, if we truly know how water can bring elegance and a cool atmosphere, why cannot we ensure that the available water resources are well taken care of and well guarded to ensure sustainability? Most of us claim to love our children. If we do, indeed, we should ensure that we take care of the water, so that they have a chance to see beautiful sites like we have seen. If we cannot let them have water, then we are the biggest liars whenever we say we love them.