Drought Presents Immediate and Future Issues, Highlighting Need For and Benefits of Water Conservation
Long-term forecasts and present-day circumstances around the country and world demonstrate economic and environmental issues caused by drought, with water conservation solutions pivotal to averting significant problems.
By Mathias Haugner
Populous and economically-sizeable states like California are no strangers to the impacts of drought. Affecting valuable agriculture commodities on which communities around the world depend, to impacting regulations that govern use of water for households and municipalities, drought influences the very issue of survival.
Future forecasts aren’t needed to demonstrate the impacts that lack of water has on the livelihood of communities. In the Central Valley region of California alone, one 2014 UC Davis study estimates the range of economic impacts on agriculture alone:
- The resulting net water shortage of 1.5 million acre-feet will cause losses of $810 million in crop revenue and $203 million in dairy and other livestock value, plus additional groundwater pumping costs of $454 million.
- These direct costs to agriculture total $1.5 billion.
- The total statewide economic cost of the 2014 drought is $2.2 billion, with a total loss of 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs.
This does not include other impacts, like decrease in tourism, costs of water treatment, and other, more indirect loss of economic activity like people leaving affected areas and more.
As forecasts assess widespread conditions of debilitating drought, and some models forecasting the likelihood of decades-long events of this nature, the present time becomes critical in alleviating the strain on water resources.
Technologies exist that can readily reclaim, store, recycle, and treat a variety of water sources so they may be reused. From turning wastewater into potable water, to creating closed-loop water systems that minimize the need to replenish water in agricultural operations, solutions exist that can improve the economic and environmental bottom lines for businesses and communities. Team Gemini and its team members present solutions to address these needs. But it requires concerted efforts to implement them, including collaboration with water utilities, local governments, and financial models that make the solutions more accessible.
To learn more about Team Gemini’s water conservation solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/a3-usa/.
For more information on drought-related issues, visit http://go.usa.gov/hHTe.