This is a very common question and a deadly misunderstanding.
First, let me point out that 97% of that water is too saline to drink.
All but 1.5% of the water is too saline to drink. At one time there was also a great deal of freshwater stored in Aquifers (Underground lakes.) the water in the biggest Aquifer in the US (Ogallala) took over 10 million years to form.
Since rain in the western parts KS, OK, TX, Nebraska was inadequate to grow the amount of food for the big Cotton and cattle fodder the farmers used cheap electricity to pump the water up from the aquifer.
That pumping has been taking out more water than is going back in. As a result of that imbalance, this underground lake has gone from 500 feet deep to 5 feet deep.
Farms went out of business, and it became popular to blame fracking for the ramshackle town stores scattered around, but those towns and the surrounding areas had been pumped dry and deserted decades before.
And this was all before climate change started even less rain to fall.
Now, let’s look at the SW part of the US. Most of the freshwater that Southern California and Las Vegas have depended on comes from the Rocky Mountains. The large Colorado river and its tributaries are filled in western Colorado, and then some f that water is pumped over to the eastern side to provide water for the “Front Range (Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver etc,
What left in the river leaves Colorado, going to Utah, and California, with New Mexico, and Arizona sucking a lot of water along the way. Then Los Angeles, the Imperial Valley, (desert without the Colorado River water) and recycles that water so many times that it’s now too salty to grow the great crops that they used to.
This is just the United States. Both India and China have made the same mistake, which means that their ability to grow food is declining.
The Great Himalaya’s are melting, and the Indus and Gages Rivers are getting lower and way more polluted. The life-saving Punjabi Aquifer is dangerously depleted.
Since humans, and most life can only live on freshwater, and the population of the planet is going up, climate change is moving the areas where adequate rain used to fall, we are currently vulnerable to water and accomplish food shortages.
We can’t drink electricity, oil or seawater, and even with renewably generated electricity, we can’t desalinate water fast enough.
What we can do is start replanting forests, and trees as fast as we can, we MUST stop deforestation, such as that Chocolate Bars, and BioFuels are killing,
A frustrating reality, that was brought to my attention by a very wise man, over 20 years ago, is that using water to grow crops is profitable, the world over. The depletion is going to continue, the media is inclined to create opinions like the one you so kindly shared, The Industrial Ag companies are going to continue using the chemicals that are killing the Gulf of Mexico with the toxic runoff from the fertilizers, and pesticides and the oil companies are going to keep protecting their revenues, and good old America is going to continuing to buy, and or sell anything to anybody they can.
I spend most of my time trying to find better options, for continents like Africa and India, but I’m afraid it’s going to be near Impossible to change America’s thinking much.
© William Ross Williams 2018
My gratitude cannot be measured any more than I can count the teachers that have each contributed to what I’ve learned so far. It’s reasonable for me to believe that every time zone of the planet includes many of those teachers. If you are reading this you are one of those teachers.
One of the lessons I’ve learned is that some places are simply the best I will ever find. This is a picture of one of them.
And as I share this I must thank the universe with all of my being for the infinite knowledge I will always be discovering among those things I’ve just never thought of.