Bob Haase Another Can Of Worms

Is Water More Valuable Than Gold?

It seems like whenever we have large quantities of anything we treat it like we will never run out of it.    Water is a good example.  Most people feel that we will never run out of water but some states are realizing how important water is.  It is not only important to have water, it is also important to have clean water suitable for drinking.  We can live without something as valuable as gold, but we cannot live without water.

Wisconsin is lucky to have an abundant supply of clean water, but that doesn’t mean that it will be that way forever.  There are many people that feel our aquifers could never go dry and that we should not worry about ever running out of water.  The problem there is that when the water in an aquifer drops far enough it can affect the quality of the water and everything above it.  Lowering the aquifer can result in higher levels of arsenic in our water so that even if there is water down there it might not be safe to drink.

I was talking to a tree farmer recently that says the roots of his trees are growing deeper now than they used to because of drops in the aquifer.  He also says that as the levels in an aquifer drop it increases the chance of losing trees when there is a drought.  That is why more and more tree farmers are going to irrigation….. but this uses more water which could eventually make the problem worse. 

Some people say that high capacity wells will never go dry.  Tell that to Waukesha because their high capacity wells are going dry and that is why they want to get water from Lake Michigan.  States to the south of us like Oklahoma would also like to get water from Lake Michigan because they are having serious water problems.  Think what it might cost to pump water from Lake Michigan to Oklahoma.

The problem is not only the quantity of water, but the quality of water.  If you go to state like Ohio they pump water through pipes like we get natural gas because their wells are so polluted that they can’t drink the water.  This is primarily due to the huge pig farms dumping liquid manure.

When you were growing up did you ever think you would have to pay for drinking water or that people would bottle it and sell it?  There are many places now that charge more for a bottle of water than they do for a bottle of pop.  As other states lose water supplies or contaminate water supplies they will be looking to states like Wisconsin and the Great Lakes for water.  Because of demand the prices of water will go up and not just for them, but for us as well.

If we look at other states like California and see the problems created by water shortages we should wake up to the fact that we need to protect our water.  We need to protect wasting valuable water and we need to protect contaminating our ground water.  I would bet that 90 percent of the people in Wisconsin are not concerned and don’t care thinking it will never happen here.  It may not affect you but it will affect our children and grandchildren.  It is a lot better to start realizing that water is not an unending supply and maybe we should start treating it like gold, because someday it might be more valuable than gold. 

Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.