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The Water Well

The World Is Running Out Of Drinking Water
If you are not among the millions of people who pay for bottled distilled or treated drinking water at the supermarket, you are probably gulping down poison in your tap water. And in many cases, the bottled water you drink may be suspect.
After living in homes all over the United States, my family has rarely found a place where something bad is not dripping from the home water pipes. Where I live in Michigan just now we are struggling with mostly arsenic, farm pesticides and an industrial carcinogen called polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs.
A recent story in New Science High warns that there is now found to be a worldwide epidemic of arsenic poisoning from water wells and tens of thousands of people have developed symptoms or died from it.
The story said high levels of arsenic in groundwater are found in the heavily populated areas of India and that people are at serious risk in 17 countries including China, Vietnam, Argentina, Bangladesh and the United States. The World Health Organization believes a mass poisoning disaster is unfolding even now in Bangladesh.
In China, all three rivers feeding China's Northern Plain where most of the nation's food is produced, are severely polluted. The pollution is damaging health and limiting irrigation. As if this isn't serious enough, drought has been recently added to the mix.
A special report by the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reveals a worldwide declining quality and quantity of water. The report predicts that the average supply of fresh water per person across the planet is set to plunge by a third in the next 20 years. At many as seven billion people across 60 countries will face water shortages.
Here are some startling facts:
In the U.S., 95 percent of the nation's fresh water is pumped from underground aquifers. In the Texan High Plains, where water is regarded as a premium, farmers are pumping it from the Ogallala aquifer faster than rain replenishes it. Water tables are dropping at a rate of 12 billion cubic meters a year.
Mexico City, once known as a city in the midst of a lush land of lakes, is now in serious trouble. In the last 500 years the lakes have been drained, the surrounding forests destroyed, and pollution from sewage and leaking water pipes a threat to health. On top of this, the city is pumping so much water from the underwater aquifer below that the city is sinking.
While the media does not address it, the shortage of water may be a primary cause of the tensions in the Middle East. Competition for water from the River Jordan was a major cause of the 1967 war. The Israelis on the West Bank are using four times as much water as their Palestinian neighbors. Much of this is drawn from the Sea of Galilee, an area in dispute even at this hour.
The Aral Sea of Central Asia, once the world's fourth largest inland fresh water sea, offered one of the world's most fertile regions. But economic mismanagement as turned the area into a toxic desert.
A United Nations report predicts that access to water may be the single biggest cause of conflict and war in Africa in the next 25 years.
People who even use city tap water to cook or bathe may still be poisoning themselves with some of the harmful substances that get in the food or are absorbed in the skin. Arsenic can even be ingested in the air.
Scientists say that water in many cities is contaminated with estrogen from the urine of women on replacement hormones and birth control pills. The water also contains traces of many other drugs including painkillers, antidepressants, blood-pressure medicine and anything else that leaves the body through urine or gets directly flushed down the toilet.
Water treatment processes are designed to remove dangerous bacteria, but they don't eliminate dissolved medicines. And the aging population, especially in the United States, takes a lot of medicine.

One study estimated that nursing homes discard between $73 million to $378 million worth of drugs a year, and many of these are flushed.
A recent report by Nick Grimm in The World Today stated that a United Nations report shows that a shortage of good clean drinking water is "one of the gravest threats to the survival of the human race." Grimm said the report "slams governs around the world for turning a blind eye to the threat to the earth's fresh water, despite the torrents of scientific evidence that supplies are in crisis."
"The World Water Development Report has found the earth faces a double-whammy. Clean water supplies are on the decline while demand is growing dramatically at an unsustainable rate.
"By 2023, the report predicts that every person on the planet can expect their personal allocation of fresh water to have declined by a third. The impact will be worst for developing nations where clean water is already in critically short supply," the story said.