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Sunday, May 17

I hope you're taking notes because I'm not

He would've figured it out early on

I don't have time for taking notes anymore. I'm just trying to keep up with reports on drought and related issues -- and who knew how many issues there were, until California's severe drought raised public interest in water shortages?

I'd complained in August that 2014 was turning to out to be the year of "Oh by the way," as it seemed every time I turned around yet another new study with bad news about drought was being pored over by the press.

The year has continued into this one, as reporters have fanned out across the United States and the entire world to dig up little-known or little-understood aspects of drought and all kinds of water issues nobody thought of before -- almost nobody, that is.  The few who'd thought of these issue had spent decades shouting warnings in a glass booth.

At one point, and I can't remember when this was, I did put together a list for this blog of major patterns I'd noted in the thousands of water reports I'd plowed through up to the that point.  The jarring conclusion to emerge from the list: there was a sameness about the patterns no matter where I noted them.   When it came to lack of attention to water, not much separated first, second, and third countries. Even governments in perennially arid regions had perennially put water management at or near the bottom of a long to-do list, or their tactics to address water shortages were woefully inadequate for serious drought.

What no one (but a few) had stopped to ask was what would happen if all world regions where human and livestock populations congregate in large numbers got hit with catastrophic droughts around the same time.

The year 2014 came close to producing the unthinkable scenario.  So everybody's wide awake now and scrambling to make up lost ground,  But within weeks of my publishing the list I found more patterns, more knock-on effects of drought I hadn't considered before.

Take dengue fever outbreaks. How in heck can you get dengue fever during a drought? Easily. People store scarce water in uncovered containers right next to their homes or apartment buildings, then armies of thirsty mosquitoes converge on these water sources.  

The latest knock-on effect I learned about was drought-cracked dams.  (See the previous post.)
"Dessication cracks," the dam engineers call them. When the water level falls in the dam during prolonged drought, cracks appear in the exposed dam structure.  .

Don Corleone warned Mikey that the one close to him would be the betrayer.  I've thought of the warning many times since I started this water project. We have taken for granted the most prosaic, the most obvious and familiar feature of our existence next to air. Now our oversight has turned on us with a vengeance.


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