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Obama’s advice on droughts is not a long-term solution

It was heartening to hear President Obama speak seriously about the impact of climate destabilization during his recent visit to drought sites in California. This persistent drought is a serious problem for all in the country who rely on California agriculture. One of the impacts of climate change continues to be shifts in the water cycle – it seems we either have too much and floods, or too little and droughts.

The president is urging us to figure out how everybody can get the water they need. But he speaks of “distribution” of water as the solution, a term that always brings terror into the hearts of Great Lakes residents. He doesn’t speak of reuse and wise use of the precious resource, and he also doesn’t mention the impact of hydrofracking on water.

A recent report, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress: Water Demand by the Numbers, reports that oil and gas fracking activity in both the United States and Canada is happening in “arid, water-stressed regions, creating significant long-term water sourcing risks.” In these drought-prone areas and across the world, water is being removed and contaminated and then 50 percent is injected deep into the earth, forever lost to the hydrological cycle. The rest? Only partially cleaned.

It is time to stop the water-depleting dirty fossil fuels extraction and shift to renewables. Already more jobs in the United States are produced by solar and wind industries than by fossil fuels. Solar panels and windmills don’t pollute or “disappear” our desperately needed water.

Lynda Schneekloth

Chairwoman

Sierra Club Niagara Group