The Great Lakes State of Pennsylvania gave Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain resounding victories in the contest to determine who will run for US President this fall. While Great Lakes states share a concern over our fresh water and the next president’s intentions for it, water, is increasingly becoming a national and international issue.
“We need to have a president who will take seriously the problem with water,” Sen. Hillary Clinton said at an early April campaign stop in Oregon. “Water has always been a local and state issue. I think that is probably all to the good but I think we need to take a good look at our entire country.”
This sounds eerily familiar to the statement that got democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson in trouble last summer when he suggested we need a national water policy. But then, he implied diversion of Great Lakes water to thirsty drought stricken states in the south and west.
It isn’t surprising that this issue keeps bubbling up to the surface. The world, not just our nation, is quickly hurdeling towards a food and water shortage. After six years of drought, Australian rice farmers have given up the ghost, many selling their water-rites to grape harvesters. China doesn’t have enough unpolluted water to sustain its population and India keeps growing while their aquifer continues to dry up.
“Water is going to be one of our most contentious issues in the 21st century,” said Sen. Clinton. Climatologists suggest the snow covered Rockies will slowly bald leaving the main source to the Colorado River unfed. Meanwhile, hotter, dryer summers promise to plague the South. Fresh water fuels everything from the food we eat to our industries and it is vital to our survival.
“We need to preserve nature’s water. We need to be smart about it, how we recover it. It’s the kind of over-the-horizon issue that if we deal with it now we will have a better chance,” Sen. Clinton added. And if that is the case, those of us responsible for preserving the lakes, need to consistently ask candidates what they intend to do about the lakes once they are in office. We need to nag them to the point of distraction to make them understand that we care and we want someone who shares our vision in the White House.