I live along a lakeshore. For years, water has been my best companion. Its face changes moment to moment. Water is just a lady with a thousand faces. This spring, I saw a new face.
In March, our neighbourhood experienced a very unpleasant smell and taste in the lake water. For days, its surface stayed still. Volvox algae was soon found out to be the source of problems. It is non-toxic, but meanwhile depletes lake oxygen as it dies off.
The algae bloom tells us that our lake is processing a load of nutrients, which typically flow from human settlements. Our lake is a rural lake with forested park on about half the shoreline, a few small farms, and less than a hundred homes nearby. Yet, here we witnessed the human impacton Earth’s delicately balanced ecosystems.
Now imagine how similar water crises happen globally in every human inhabitance on Earth.
You probably know some sobering figures: About 0.3% of all fresh water on Earth exists in lakes and rivers; 30% exists in soil moisture and ground water; and 70% remains locked up in ice. The ice, on the other hand, is melting, transforming into saline ocean water or fresh groundwater. Meanwhile, human usage depletes this groundwater, the lakes and rivers.
Today, on Earth, over a billion people have no access to clean, fresh water. In wealthy industrial nations, consumers use massive water resources. North Americans use some 100 gallons of water per person each day, while in Africa, such as Chad, Niger and Ghana, the average person uses as little as one gallon, and not guarantee if their water is clean.
Preserving Earth’s water can wait no more. In my community, the algae crisis alerted us to begin the long process of reversing our impact on the lake. Perhaps, if we can reduce our phosphate and nitrogen flow, we can save our lake. Others have not been so lucky. Algae blooms killed Green Lake in Washington State, Blue Lake in Oregon, Lake Taihu in Jiangsu China, and so forth around the world. Carbon Filter
Now, our lake is lively again and fishes are back. It tells us, talk is cheap.