I am no Doomsday prepper, Nostradamus ninny, Revelations reveler or End of the World enthusiast (okay, that’s not technically true; having thrown a couple of killer end of the world parties with the priestess of pastry Little Debbie, but I digress). However driving on 101 northbound through the world’s food belt of California farmland had me wondering: Should I be stockpiling 50 years worth of water? How much is 50 years worth of water? Are cisterns BPA free? Exactly what would 50 years of water storage look like and how would I use 50 years of water? Just for drinking, bathing and cooking or could I add a garden to the mix? How big of a garden? I can’t wrap my head around the amount of water each garden plant might need should there be a continued drought?
According to the United States Geological Survey’s Water Science School, one person on average uses 80 to 100 gallons of water a DAY!
So for argument’s sake let’s just say 80 gallons and break it down for 50 years:
80×365=29,200 gallons a year for one person x 50 years = 1,460,000 gallons needed for storage.
Not all of us live alone so let’s add 2 more people just for the fun of it:
4,380, 000 gallons of water are needed for a family of 3 for 50 years.
These numbers are startling, not the amount of gallons for 50 years that makes sense…no, these numbers are truly frightening when it comes to fracking. A single well (of which there can be 10 or more) on a single frack pad uses MORE water for one frack than a family of three for FIFTY YEARS. Just take a moment to digest that. Okay back to the story….
The parched mountains of California are now the perfect homeowners association airy sand beige. Watching the mountains pass by through the windshield I wondered how many Santa Ana Winds could blow them all away. Vineyards, Greenhouses and cattle dotted the landscape while the fading oak trees covered in dust appeared ready for hospice. Meanwhile in the cities and towns from SoCal to NoCal, a cacophony of unfettered growth with preposterous population expanding housing developments, mini malls and office buildings. I wonder as more people move into the area: is there enough water to sustain an infinitely expanding development plan? Are these developers, commissioners and legislators thinking, that through this plan with all the supposed economic “prosperity” everyone will just be able to afford bottled water? And where does that bottle water come from?
I’m simply perplexed.
A scheduled appointment had been made for Little Miss to get her compressor fixed that fried on the 65 just outside of Nashville. Knowing we would be heading to California to see family anyway, we decided to head on over to NoCal where Applied GMC is located for the fix. It is beyond fortunate that I have family in the area, and though I hadn’t seen them in many years they greeted us (including Jack the Adventure Dog) with welcoming open arms. During my stay, a conversation with my cousin at a goat farm in Pescadero got me thinking. She had taken her daughter to Mobile, Alabama for historical context on a school project (she is fortunate to have the means to give her children education through travel not just books and search engines). What she saw in Mobile was a downtown with gorgeous buildings unutilized. She thought, why don’t start ups and companies, like Google, relocate to places around the states in need of economic development, instead of overcrowding California? Good question, cousin!
I reflected on the cows munching on the pale cream-colored dried grass off the 101 to the beautiful hills of West Virginia and it’s plethora of rain and green grass. Why couldn’t WV or other smaller states for that matter augment what California is losing to the drought? Well the answer to that question is beset with more questions. Are there enough cattle farms to compete? With the competition for natural resources from the oil and gas industry in rural areas, and the amount of fresh water needed for slick water horizontal fracturing (fracking) will there be enough water to sustain a cattle industry regardless of the amount of rain? With the road infrastructure crumbling due to an overwhelming amount of large trucks turning paved roads back to gravel, is it feasible/safe to take the cattle to market? With toxic spills that occur with regularity at these frack pads, is the soil, water and air safe enough to raise healthy cows? Will the market outside of WV be willing to purchase beef from an area being fracked?
Allow me to reiterate, I am no Doomsday prepper, Nostradamus ninny, Revelations reveler or End of the World enthusiast…. However. I’m concerned that the collective we have lost sight of preserving and conserving for our collective future.