Americans have been used to having a seemingly endless supply of fresh, clean water for their entire lives. For decades we have been able to waste it, pollute it and use as much as we wanted without ever thinking that we could run out of it. But along the way something funny happened. We did start to run out of it, and as of right now the United States is officially facing a very serious water crisis.
Today severe water shortages have become a way of life from Georgia to Texas to Nevada to California. Reserves continue to dwindle as public officials scramble to try to find some solutions.
The truth is that Americans will not be able to continue to recklessly waste water the way that they always have in the past.
According to CBS News, the average American uses 150 gallons of water per day. When compared to residents of the U.K. (40 gallons per day) and residents of China (22 gallons per day), the average American appears to be a huge water pig.
But those behaviors are going to have to change or America is simply going to run out of water....
*The number of states facing a water crisis is now far greater than the number of states without one. In fact, a total of 36 states face severe water shortages in the next three years.
*A federal judge recently ruled that Georgia has few legal rights to Lake Lanier - the main water supply for Atlanta. With 2 million more residents expected to move into Atlanta over the next couple of decades, officials there are scrambling to try to figure out how in the world everyone is going to be able to have enough water.
*In Texas, farmers and ranchers were absolutely devastated in 2009 as the ongoing drought cost the agricultural sector billions of dollars.
*Every single day Arizona and parts of New Mexico use 300 million gallons more water than they get in renewable supply.
*Lake Mead is the primary supply of water for the city of Las Vegas. But since 1998, Lake Mead's capacity has plunged by more than 50 percent- down 5.6 trillion gallons. Nobody is quite sure how Las Vegas is going to continue to have enough water.
*The water crisis became so serious in California this past year that Barack Obama actually requested that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger call state lawmakers into a special session just to deal with the situation.
*Other states are so concerned about the national water crisis that they are determined to hold on to the supplies that they have. In fact, 8 states surrounding the Great Lakes have signed a pact banning the export of water to outsiders - even to other U.S. states.
The truth is that without enough water you cannot grow food. Without enough water you cannot live a normal life. Without enough water you cannot flush your toilet or take a shower or wash your clothes or make yourself a cup of coffee.
The United States does not have unlimited natural resources. We are now bumping up against our limitations and we are bumping up against them hard.
If fundamental changes are not made quickly, the majority of states are simply going to run out of water. When that happens, it will not be a pretty situation.
Urge your local officials to do what they can about the water crisis, but the truth is that all of us need to prepare individually as well.
It is imperative that we all make sure that we have a dependable source of clean, fresh water for our families. As the U.S. economy continues to crumble and as water supplies get tighter there is going to be a scramble. Don't let yourself end up in a situation where you are holding the short end of the stick.