Waddya mean, “Water shortage”

There is plenty of water for one duck. for the rest of us, not so much.I saw a Black and White Warbler in the tree outside my window. My first ever. A tiny thing, about the size of a goldfinch, but all longitudinal patterns of black and white stripes.

What I am pretty certain was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak lit momentarily within sight, then departed before I could take the camera in hand.

A little while later, a pair of House Sparrows paused among the dogwood blooms and performed the “Wild Thing” duet. Readers of a certain age will remember the quartet version of the lyric, “Wild Thing, I think I love you. But I wanna know for sure.”

Sometimes the rascals remind me of Facebook Stories that are just long enough to get my attention but not to allow real appreciation of the message. Or those legal notices under televised drug ads that are on screen just long enough for us viewers to discern the intent of the sponsor to avoid responsibility for unwanted side-effects.

I don’t care about the legal notices, but I wish the birds would slow down some.

One of the scenes I most enjoy are the feathered denizens taking turns bathing in the pond, then perching outside my window to dry and preen their raiment. In my backyard, birds, at least, are not short of water, while …

California is burning up. This year already has seen more forest fires than last year in that state, though authorities say the fires are smaller and less worthy of media coverage. But there are more of them, so we eventually will hear about the total acreage of charbroiled almonds and wine grapes that has surpassed yet another record.

And water shortages are occupying court dockets across the nation. One such fight is in the United States Supreme Court, in which Mississippi and Tennessee are arguing over ownership of a deep aquifer.

Some aquifers have been storing water since the world was young. They do not quickly replace water we humans suck out for cooking, bathing and growing crops. So when Memphis, TN poked its straw into the Claiborne aquifer, Mississippi noticed its water level falling, and claimed in court the Volunteer State was stealing its valuable water.

SCOTUS appointed a Special Master to research the situation. In November last year, the decision was published which basically said, “The fact that Tennessee drawing water can be detected in Mississippi proves that the water is under both states. Y’all find a way to share.”

Meanwhile, a hedge fund has bought up a large section of Arizona farmland – not to grow lemons, which is the current crop – but to control the Colorado River. It turns out, according to one expert on Sunday morning television, that the river’s water belongs to everyone, but individual landowners have a legal right to control where it goes.

A few hundred miles away lies the growing town of Queen Creek, AZ. The town, a suburb of Phoenix, population approximately 50,000 (up from approximately 26,000 in 2010) and exploding. The town’s website boasts “natural recreational riches and a relaxed, rural lifestyle.”

But to continue replacing ag land with residences, the town needs water. It has been said there is no water shortage that cannot be cured with enough pipe and money to lay it. The aforementioned investors have agreed to point the Colorado River toward the town – for a $21 million fee.

Closer to my home, there are plans to run pipe some 30 miles from the Susquehanna River to my home county to provide water to supply homes that developers plan to replace the county’s corn, soybean and dairy farms.

Watch this space.

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