So simple. So abundant. So inexpensive.
And that previous paragraph? So-o-o last century.
In the United States, thirty-six states are now facing severe water shortages. According to USAid, one-third of all human beings will face severe or chronic water shortages by 2025. By 2050, 1.7 billion people are expected to live in “dire water poverty” which will force them to relocate.
Water is rapidly overtaking oil as the world’s scarcest natural resource.
No surprise, then, that the government is snapping up water rights.
In July, 2010, there was Executive Order 13547, which mandated federal control of the Great Lakes.
Then the feds opened fire on Alaska’s right to its own navigable rivers. This in spite of the Alaska Statehood Act of 1958, which specifically granted the new state title to all navigable waters in the state.
Last month, a rural Oregon man was sentenced to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 on fines because he used rainwater that collected in three ponds on his 170 acres.
Now the feds are suing for control of New Mexico’s groundwater. And doing it so quietly that even the State Legislature’s Water and Natural Resources Committee didn’t know about it until less than forty-eight hours before the hearing.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reported last Monday:
Clearly, it was jolting news the New Mexico Legislature’s Water and Natural Resources Committee wasn’t prepared for.
During Monday’s committee meeting . . . [lawyers representing the State and City] told the committee that a state Water Court hearing will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday . . . and the future management of [the] state’s water supply could hang in the balance of the hearing’s outcome.
“Why hasn’t this been front-page news?” asked a surprised Clinton D. Harden Jr., a state senator from Clovis. “This is one of the biggest things ever. Frankly, what we’re looking at is under the camel’s nose. This is an unprecedented legal claim to water.”
The lawyers told the committee the U.S. government is apparently trying to take over legal management of the state’s water supply. The federal government has asserted claims for damages to groundwater in a natural resource damage case in New Mexico involving Chevron/Molycorp. The claim seeks for those damages to be awarded in the form of future water rights management. . . .
Much of the population in New Mexico gets its drinking water from underground aquifers. If the feds can manage the water rights, they can mandate how much water each city or county gets.
After a full day of testimony last Wednesday, a state judge ruled against the feds. It’s hard to imagine, though, that they won’t appeal the ruling. As:
- water becomes increasingly scarce
- governments and corporations lock up water rights
- the price of water climbs
water rights are primed to become the next big federal/state legal battleground.
“We used to say,” wrote former Solicitor and Undersecretary of the Interior Clarence A. Davis way back in 1958:
that a man’s house was his castle, that he owned the land from the center of the earth to the roof of the skies, but we are far past that. . . . We are now debating whether we may drain the moat around his castle, without compensation, in the name of federal constitutional powers, of which the landowner has never heard.
One thing is clear. Whoever controls the water, controls the food supply. And whoever controls the food and water, controls the people as well.
Plastics was the famous word of advice that a family friend gave young Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. But that, too, is so twentieth century. To quote Mr. McGuire, I just want to say one word to you–just one word.
But in the 21st century, that word is . . . water.
(H/T to The Gateway Pundit for a link to the Las Cruces Sun-News article)