Water: A Global Crisis

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Water scarcity as a result of climate change could create global security issues. USF’s College of Public Health recently partnered with the Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Patel Center for Global Solutions for a panel discussion on water issues.

Disappearing sources of clean water have been a major concern for bay area residents. Aquatic biologist Thomas Crisman said salt water intrusion has contaminated freshwater aquifers.

According to a US geological survey, two-thirds of all fresh water is stored in the polar ice caps and glaciers. Crisman says that with climate change contributing to glacial retreat and the loss of ice caps, water scarcity is predicted to be both a cause and cost of conflict worldwide.

Local water contamination is another concern. Phil Compton with the Sierra Club said that citizens can help by using less phosphate-rich fertilizer, since Florida’s soil already has enough phosphorous.

Much of Tampa’s water comes from the Hillsborough River. A property in the northeast part of the county known as Cone Ranch contains wetlands that feed the river. Councilmember Mary Mulhern said she wants it protected.

Kent Bailey is working to protect Cone Ranch, by defending it against being sold to the Florida Conservation and Environmental Group, who he believes intends to purchase it for development.

According to Councilmember Mulhern, the city is taking steps to reuse reclaimed water as a conservation measure.

Dave Randle currently works as President and Executive Director of the Wellness Health And Lifestyle Education Center. Regardless of the threats posed by climate change, he said that carbon emissions remain a serious problem for oceans.

St. Petersburg City Councilmember Karl Nurse said he thinks a rail system will make the region’s current land use paradigm more sustainable, while reducing carbon emissions.

There will be a fertilizer workshop on December 9th at 2pm in the County Center in downtown Tampa.

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Environmental Protection Commission

Sierra Club Tampa