A question about water shortages

Various environmental scientists are expressing concern over lowered water tables in areas where there has been sustained drought. Farmers and homeowners are having to dig deeper wells to replace wells that have run dry.

Not only are we having a shortage of water, we are also experiencing a settling of land in some parts of the country where the decrease in the amount of water underground has caused the particles of sand to settle closer together. This is happening in areas such as Charleston, SC, which makes the city even more vulnerable to flooding during any hurricane or tropical storm surge.

I am not a brain surgeon, or even a rocket scientist. In fact, I’m not a scientist at all. But I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t one simple change that we can make in the way that cleaned up waste-water is handled that could make at least a fraction of a dent in the problem.

I have first hand information about two cities water systems. In Cheraw, SC, water is taken from the Pee Dee River and cleaned up to supply city water as well as to supply water for major beverage companies such as Pepsi Cola. The waste-water from the city is cleaned up the second time and returned to the Pee Dee River.

In Hemingway, SC, deep well water needs minimal treatment to supply the water for the town. Again, the waste water is cleaned up and channeled into Muddy Creek which feeds into the Pee Dee River.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no shortage of water in the ocean, so why are we taking cleaned up water and throwing it away? Couldn’t at least some portion of this water be used more productively? One obvious place where it could be used is to replenish the irrigation ponds that farmers use to water their fields. The water is clean enough for fish. When I lived in Cheraw the waste treatment plant maintained an aquarium of fish in the cleaned up wastewater that was sent into the river. Fishing and recreation ponds could hold this water which would eventually find its way back into the water table.

There could be some reasonable explanation why this idea couldn’t work, but I can’t imagine what it would be. We have already cleaned up the water. God himself has set up a natural filtration system of land and rocks which would continue to filter the water before it eventually reached the water table.

If I knew who to pass this idea on to I would do so. Meanwhile I will post it here on my blog. Perhaps someone will pass it along to a person who can put the idea where it may do someone some good.

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