Could Water Scarcity be a National Security Concern in the Future?

September 11th, 2013

Turn that water faucet off!

water faucet

Image via Jenn Durfey (Flickr)

Could Water Scarcity be a National Security Concern in the Future?

September 11, 2013 marks the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and as a New York City resident, this time always makes me think about national security. An attack of this nature is the type of security threat with which most of us are familiar. When we think of national security, we think of terrorist and war-related attacks. However, I want to talk today about another type of national security concern that also needs to be in the forefront of every American’s mind. This national security threat is water scarcity, and believe me, the threat is very real.

I don’t mean to be a “Debbie-Downer” in this post – any discussion related to national security isn’t generally fun – but if you look at the latest water scarcity facts, you’ll see that this is a discussion we need to have. So, here we go! Let’s take a look at some of the issues surrounding our national water crisis.

Water Is Life

You learned it in elementary school: without water, we have no life. We need water to survive, animals need water to survive, and crops need water to grow. If we have no water, we have no means to sustain our existence. This is why water scarcity is a national security concern. In fact, it’s a global security concern, and we need to look at water scarcity solutions before drought becomes an irreparable epidemic on our home soil.

Think about it. Other nations are already starving to death because they do not have enough clean, safe water to grow food and feed themselves. Can you imagine that in the U.S.? Probably not, but that just might be the source of the problem. We’ve had access to clean water for so long, we simply do not think about not having it, and we need to.

As of August 27, 2013, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s U.S. Drought Monitor reports that several areas in the West and Midwest are experiencing extreme and exceptional drought conditions. I don’t know about you, but water scarcity facts like this one frighten me. Especially when I consider that many of these drought areas are our heartland. Our farmers do not have access to enough water to grow our food.

It’s Time for a Change

If you live in the Southwest and Great Plains, you’re probably used to having water scarcity facts thrown your way. You’ve been through droughts and you’ve had to conserve your water. You hear of the threat each summer, after the hope of spring showers dissipates. Those of us living in wetter climates, however, sometimes miss the boat when it comes water scarcity. It rains enough that we don’t worry, and we don’t always hear about the threat of drought.

We can’t afford to think this way anymore. We need to conserve our precious water everywhere, including the Big Apple. All of us need to band together and implement some water scarcity solutions no matter where we live.

What We Can Do

Implement water scarcity solutions in your home by investing in low flow/flush shower heads, faucets, and toilets to minimize water flow. You can also buy water pressure regulators. Take shorter showers, and turn off the water between getting wet, soaping up, and rinsing off. I know a warm, luxurious shower cures all ills, but it also wastes water, and we just can’t afford to do that anymore.

Landscape with drought tolerant plants, and use mulch to keep your ground moist in between sprinkler time. And, speaking of sprinklers, I know the kids love running through them in the middle of a hot summer day, but buy a kiddies’ pool with a cover instead, so you’re only using water once to fill it up. Better yet, take them to your local community pool and give them a workout sure to create some droopy eyes at bedtime.

Don’t leave your faucet running when you’re rinsing off the dinner dishes or brushing your teeth. Don’t leave faucets running for any reason. I saw a great animation during an episode of Sesame Street once – okay, yes, I watch it! It depicted a little boy brushing his teeth with the water running and a fish outside in a lake watching its water level lower dangerously over its head. The fish called the little boy and asked him to turn off the water. Keep this visual in mind every time you turn on a faucet – do you really need the water running?

Finally, stay on top of water issues in environmental and political news. Petition your congressional leaders to do something about water conservation and protecting this precious resource. Get involved and show no mercy! Our leaders need to understand the importance of water and its necessity to our life. We have the ability to prevent water scarcity from becoming a national security concern and we should use it!


Written By: Lynn Taylor

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