War over resources is as old as time itself, and sci-fi writers have been making bank for decades predicting wars over protecting and providing water (virtually every space book/movie for obvious reasons, hell, even the Bond franchise had a movie about it- Quantum of Solace iirc). It’s always been there, although very remote to the American mindset who all know of the Six Day War in the Middle East but have no memory of the water war that led to it.
At any rate, it’s been at work here for a long time, with differing levels of regional relevance (the west has been dealing, or more accurately, not dealing with this for decades), and there have long been communities scattered across the country who, for varying reasons, have not had access to “modern plumbing.” They run on well water, cisterns, whatever. There are lots of folks not too far out of town from me who don’t have “city water.”
We’re now entering a phase where a lot of people are running into the situation where they do not have safe drinking water, period. We’ve heard of the most infamous cases like Flint, but there are a lot of other places you are going to soon here about. And in many of those places, it’s not because there isn’t access to water, it’s that the water is undrinkable. Like Jackson, Mississippi, fer instance:
Recent torrential rain coupled with years of water system issues have resulted in a crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, where the city doesn’t have enough water to fight fires, flush toilets or even hand out to residents in need.
Jackson’s main water treatment facility began failing Monday, according to Gov. Tate Reeves. The National Guard was called up to help distribute bottled water as crews work to get the water treatment plant back online, state officials said.
But the distribution itself proved unsustainable. Residents of all ages were seen waiting in lines more than a mile long at Hawkins Field Airport for at least two hours Tuesday for just one case of bottled water. The event was supposed to span three hours, but barely ran two as people were eventually turned away when the 700 cases of water ran out.
There are any number of reasons why communities may not have access to water, including pollution of watersheds, drought, and other environmental factors, but the most maddening of the reasons is political malfeasance. Redirecting water to agriculture, not enforcing fair water use, profiteering (see Nestle in California, a Saudi Arabian firm growing fucking alfalfa in Arizona, or ranchers just saying fuck it yolo and destroying salmon runs) are other frequent causes. Hell, half of Chile has no water because it has all been redirected to big avocado.
But it’s the malicious politics that bothers me the most. There are a growing number of sacrifice zones in the United States where the simple basics of clean air, clean water, and unpoisoned land have been stripped from the residents. Entire regions of the gulf coast are theoretically unlivable because of petrochemical pollution, mining towns and steel mills have spoiled other areas, and mind you, people are still living there, just no one gives a fuck about them. And then there are areas like Jackson and Flint and others where it is the result of DECADES of intentional neglect. The people there have, for all intents and purposes, been completely and totally disfranchised through systemic racism and endemic poverty, and they have literally no voice, the government gives nary a shit about them, and their needs are completely and totally ignored.
Jackson city officials have spent decades screaming for upgrades to their water system, and there is no fucking reason on earth they should not have drinking water. There are ample surface water sources surrounding the region. It’s just because it is mostly poor, mostly minority, and not Republican that the state government hasn’t done fuck all for decades there. But don’t worry. Governor Tate Reeves is gonna be ok:
— TheSportsWhisperer… Monte🏈🏀⚾️🏒⚽️😷 (@Montejp231) August 31, 2022
All of this is going to get much, much worse with climate change and with half the country being fascist and openly racist.