There will be no pictures here. I ask that you allow your imagination free reign to picture the following as you see it in your minds eye.
Once upon a time there was a little town. 200 people lived there. Their water supply came from wells that were dug near their homes. Those that did not have the funds to dig a well, used the large community well in the center of town. Years passed and everyone had potable water. For one reason or another, the wells began to run dry. They still produced water, but the volumn was diminished. Town meetings were held and it was decided that they should build a series of pipes from a distant river to a water tower they would construct.
The water tower concept was accepted. After more discussion, it was determined that building the water tower would take a professional water tower builder. Requests were sent out to water tower builders across the land. Experts were needed.
Soon, the elected town officials began to hear from water tower builders. Experts came to town to go over the project. The experts began to suggest that the water tower concept was not complete. In order to guarantee the potability of the water, the town would also need a filtration system.
The conversation turned from the need for water to the quality of the water needed. The focus of the community was directed away from the need to clean and quench thirst to the actual composition of the water that would be available.
The competing experts began to form allegiances with the various elected officials. The townspeople hardly noticed that the elected officials were enjoying paid vacations. The townspeople hardly noticed that the quality of life of the elected officials was becoming much more comfortable. The townspeople hardly noticed that the longer it was taking to make a final decision on which expert would be hired, the difference in the quality of their life and the apparent quality of life of the elected officials seemed to grown larger.
Time passed and wells continued to decrease in production.
During this time, the population of the little town continued to grow, increasing the strain on the water reservoir running beneath the town. Scientists were contacted and they confirmed that there is only so much water in the aquifer and the current depletion of that supply was growing exponentially.
The townspeople began to demand a resolution from their elected officials. As new elections were scheduled, candidates promoting a swift resolution to the problem surfaced. The townspeople hardly noticed that the campaigns for the candidates were being funded by the experts that claimed to have the solution.
Elections were held and as fate would have it, the candidates supported by the richest of experts won handily. The townspeople hardly noticed. It is the unspoken secret of elections that the person that spends the most to win, usually wins.
The newly elected officials once again met to address the problem. As luck would have it, the largest contributers just happened to win the bid. The townspeople hardly noticed. The experts plan was to build a water tower. Their plan was to build a series of pipes from the water tower to each home. Their plan was to build a filtration plant. Their plan was to build a pump station from the filtration plant to the water tower. Their plan was to build a damn on the river. Their plan was to build a pumping station on the dam. Their plan was to build a large pipeline from the pumping station on the dam to the filtration plant.
The project would take five years. The scientist came to town and told the townspeople that based on current demand, the aquifer under the town would run dry in seven and one half years.
The project was begun. The elected officials instituted conservation laws that restricted water usage to cleaning and cooking. The large town well had a tariff added to it. Townspeople that did not have their own well had no choice but to pay the tariff. This immediately reduced their standard of living because the expense of purchasing the community water had to be funded with their stagnant income.
There was a long term cost associated with the project. Townspeople had agreed to fund the project out of tax revenue and they were faced with a small cost annually to offset the cost of the capitol improvement. They hardly noticed that there was no maximum it would cost.
As time passed, this forward thinking community attracted more residents. The strain on the water supply was increased. Scientist warned that the stress on the aquifer would result in dry wells long before the project would be complete.
The elected officials confered with the experts and found that the project could be completed earlier, but at an increased cost. The elected officials decided that they would run a community service information campaign supporting increasing the cost to resolve the crisis. The campaign would generously be funded by the experts. The townspeople hardly noticed.
The project was completed.
The river ran dry.
There was always a limit to the flow of the river. There was always a chance that the chosen supply source would not be there forever. The townspeople heard the warnings. They hardly noticed.
If water were oil, would anyone notice? If we are using more oil daily than we produce daily, does anyone realize the implications that eventually, we will have no oil? Does anyone really believe that the answer is building more highways? Does anyone really believe that after 30 years of concrete warning and nothing truly changing except increased consumption, a solution is at hand? Does it seem odd that the people sharing positive views are large oil firms and auto manufacturing firms and construction firms that build our highways? It is a sad day on the planet. This is not America’s problem. This is a global problem.
Current comfort and convenience is being served at the expense of long term survival and life style.
It is inevitable… the well will run dry. Will we sit, pedestrian, and look back to realize we hardly noticed?