Posted by: kaegw | August 4, 2008

Water

I hate it when water is described as tasteless.  Distilled water is.  How many of us go around drinking distilled water.  I prefer mine to have some minerals and other naturally infused flavorings.  I have had water fresh out of the ground that was not drinkable due to too much natural flavoring such as sulphur or lime or iron. 

 

Our food is made of so much water as well.  Huge amounts of water!  One thinks of terroir being of the earth, but how did that individual essence of the terroir get into the food?  I am sure that over ninety-nine percent was transported into the foodstuff through the water.  Snapping asparagus off at ground level is always an anticipatory task that I love: and I notice the water (sap?) that drips out of the spears.

 

I used to live on a farm where a thin topsoil covered limestone.  All the water at the bottom of our 680 foot deep well had to percolate, slowly, through that limestone, then is stored in the limestone recesses.  We could not drink the water, but my, the sweet earth did grow a great crop!  The soil impregnated with the limestone below it.  And in our garden, watered with the sweet, but foul tasting, water, the vegetables were incredibly delicious and sweet.

 

The world’s huge population is depleting our aquifers and water tables.  Soon the very essence of our foods will be either out of reach or salty.  Conceivably it will shortly be controlled by the state for the good of the state.  Those of us with wells will no doubt have to pay a tax on our water usage as a means of controlling our water consumption.  If we need to water our garden to raise healthy food for our family, how will that financial restriction play out?

 

Meanwhile our crops are being irrigated from huge aquifers that are, in some cases, dropping tens of feet a year.  The pumps are going deeper and deeper to suck up the essence of our foods to irrigate a crop that may be powering our cars, making corn syrup, or feeding an animal that has a very low feed conversion factor.  On the other hand, it may be irrigating our vineyards that make the wine that we love, or the organic sweet corn, or other foods that we approve of.  In either case, the water is being found deeper and deeper. 

 

I do not doubt that there will be wars fought over water. 

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Responses

  1. We are indeed depleting large reservoirs, particularly in the western US where the climate is fairly dry and agriculture depends heavily on irrigation. Humans are extracting water that has resided in those geologic bodies for hundreds or even thousands of years. There is no easy solution to this problem. People have pumped water into these reservoirs to prevent subsidence and the formation of fissures in the ground above and to keep water pressure up, but this certainly doesn’t solve any water shortage problems. Some kind of low-energy desalinization process is a requisite future discovery.


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