Policy & politics: Got water?

The Chippewa Herald, January 8, 216
Author: Joe Pouff

In last month’s column, I talked about Saudi-owned farms in Arizona using ground water to irrigate forage crops that are then dried and shipped to Saudi Arabia. This is necessary because 30 years of pumping “to make the desert bloom” and wheat ripen has just about sucked the ancient dessert aquifers dry.

Saudi cows, still need to eat though, and Arizona water is helping to supply the forage they need ... until their water runs out, that is. Some Arizona citizen’s are beginning to notice this diversion of their precious water.

Public policy around the use of water is a very big issue. Not only in Arizona, but here in Wisconsin as well. Wisconsin shares a huge water resource with millions of people living in the Great Lakes watershed. The Great Lakes hold a lot of water — a lot of water.

But however much water they may contain, it is not infinite. Decades ago it was determined that to protect the integrity of the Great Lakes, a policy was needed to prevent water being transported or diverted out of the Great Lakes watershed. Raise your hand if you would rather not see water from Lake Superior or Michigan piped down to Arizona. Hmmm, almost all of you raised your hand.