Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 31, 2013

BRADBERRY: Too much, not enough, water, water everywhere?

Niagara Gazette — I was prompted to ask the question five years ago after watching Bob McDonald’s presentation at the 2008 Rotary International District Conference, themed “On the Waterfront: A Clear Commitment”, and I was reminded again last week when our multi-million dollar wastewater treatment plant was overwhelmed by what some are calling a “100 year storm” which caused the entire system to fail, dumping more than 100 million gallons of “untreated” waste water including raw sewage into the Niagara River.

Is it just my imagination running away with me, or are these storms and their consequences caused by climate change; is the next “100 year storm” right around the corner?

Bob McDonald is a Canadian science journalist. He is the senior science correspondent for CBC Radio and CBC Television and hosts a weekly radio show, Quirks and Quarks. He also hosted Wonderstruck, a science program for children, and the special The Greatest Canadian Invention, and he has written a number of books including “Wonderstruck,” “Wonderstruck II” and “Measuring the Earth with a Stick: Science as I’ve Seen It.”

He graphically demonstrated that though water comprises the majority of earth’s surface (60 percent), and that the total supply of earth’s water does not change, the portion available for safe consumption (one percent) is falling, and that as stewards of the life giving, but limited supply, we have an obligation and an opportunity to protect, share and preserve it for future generations, especially now that the impacts of climate change are becoming so dangerously real to so many people as evidenced here, for example by the hundreds of flooded basements and millions of dollars in damages wrought by our recent heavy rains.

McDonald demonstrated how little of the water that covers the globe is actually safe and available to drink by filling a drinking glass full of water, then pouring out the portions not safe or available for human consumption.

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