Hampleman: Elephant in the room: water | AspenTimes.com

Hampleman: Elephant in the room: water

We have many issues facing us. The attempts of the Republican Party to destroy democracy, the ever-occurring mass shootings, Russia’s war with the Ukraine, China’s designs on Taiwan, etc.

It is climate change that will affect our future. One issue we are experiencing now is the drought that is constricting the Colorado River watershe, a portend of what our grandchildren will have to face on a large scale throughout the entire country and world.

Currently, Lake Mead is at about 28% capacity, and Lake Powell is at 26% capacity. The other major reservoirs — Flaming Gore, Blue Mesa and Navajo Lake, etc. — are 47% or so. The only reason that Lake Powell isn’t lower is that water is being released from Flaming Gore to keep water above the hydro intakes of Powell’s Glen Canyon dam.

It is feared that by 2023, the Glen Canyon power plant will need to go off-line because it will not have the flow to run its generators. This is not just a current problem; it will be in our faces for generations. 

We cannot stop the depletion of water with a magic bucket. I wish we could. But, we have to take steps that will protect what water we have.

We need to prohibit foreign countries, foreign entities and corporations from acquiring water rights and purchasing lands for their water rights. We also need to reduce the export of water intense crops to Saudi Arabia, China and Japan.

It is estimated that water trading will triple by 2100 with much of the water leaving the United States’ control. Water will replace oil in the future as the commodity of power.

A good source for looking into issues on water is the documentary “Blue Gold; World Water Wars.”

Richard Hampleman


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