WaterShortage and Pollution in Arizona
Wateris a good resource that not only sustains life, but also sustains theenvironment and developmental growth. Because of this importance, anyshortage of this precious commodity leads to controversies. Takingthe state of Arizona as a local case, it is possible to understandthe controversy that exists in relation to water shortage. Watershortage in Arizona is caused by the pollution and degradation of thewater sources in the state, among other causative factors. Thediscussion about the water shortage in Arizona will explore thecontroversy with a view of illustrating the cause.
Thecontroversy arises in the determination of the party that isresponsible for causing the factors that bring water shortage in thestate. The determination is controversial because it involves placingthe blame on the parties that either lead to the cause or fail to actto prevent water shortage or water pollution. Two main sides lead theantagonism in the controversy the environmentalists and the generalpublic. While the environmentalists blame industries for the watershortage and pollution of rivers, the public blame the governmentenvironmental protection agencies like the Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA).
Onone side of the controversy, the environmentalists claim that therise of industries is the factor that has led to increased pollutionof the environment. In line with this, they claim that pollution isthe major contributor to the problem of water shortage. Therefore, tobetter understand the controversy, it is good to comprehend thecauses of pollution in the state of Arizona. In Arizona, oil, greaseand industrial contaminants are the main pollutants (Uhlman 3). Oneof the main sources of the pollutants is the industries, whosefactories release toxic waste in the environment as well as in therivers. Among the many factories and industries that have been blamedfor the problem is the Gold King Mine that is located in Colorado.
Accordingto environmentalists, the industries pollute water masses such asrivers that supply water in the state of Arizona. One of the mainrivers that have been highly affected by the problem, especially theGold King Mine is river Colorado. The river is highly threatenedbecause of its proximity to the mines, specifically Gold King Mine(Medina1).The pollution of the river by the mining company places Gold KingMine at the center of the controversy about water shortage inArizona. Gold King Mine spill is blamed for pollution of water massesin the state, especially in the region surrounding the establishmentof the company. The company is responsible for the 2015 spillage oftoxic pollutants into their river, especially river Colorado (Medina1).
Atthe same time, the company is blamed for reduced agricultural inputdue to the pollution of the river. The region of Colorado is highlyagricultural, with crop farming being a significant economicactivity. Pollution of water by toxic pollutants from the mines,especially the Gold King Mine makes the soil unfit for farming andreduces the output of the farms (Clahchischiligiand Yurth1). At the same time, pollution of the river makes the water unfitfor farming, especially fresh food farming such as vegetables(Clahchischiligiand Yurth1). At the same time, the river faces a threat of reduced waterlevels due to the pollution from the industries. This gives a strongclaim of the environmentalists as they seek to explain the causes ofthe recent water shortage and pollution of the rivers.
Theevent that placed the Gold King Mine case into the controversy is thespill that took place in 2015. The spill involved the spillage ofwaste water from the Gold King Mine site in Silverton Colorado. It isreported that the EPA employees caused the spillage of over 3 milliongallons of mine water that came from the mine site (Dillingham1).The spill was as a result of the destruction of the dam at the mine,leading to the spillage of mine water with toxic elements into theenvironment (Dillingham1).
Onthe other side of the controversy, the public is blaming thegovernment, through the environmental protection agency of watershortage and pollution in the states. Most environmentalists andpeople blame the industries for producing chemicals as pollutants(SafeWater 2). Thepublic blames the government agency for loosely enforcing the rulesthat guide the prevention of pollution. In the United States,pollution is a phenomenon that has attracted controversies inrelation to the causes of the problem. This controversy puts theenvironmental protection agencies such as EPA on the lame light inregard to the prevention of such disasters.
Theadverse effects of the Gold King Mine spill on the river Colorado andthe farming activities validate the failure of the authorities. TheGold King Mine controversy sheds light to the claim of the publicabout the failure of environmental protection agencies like the EPA.According to Tubb (1), at least one party had knowledge of the spill,and this party is the EPA. This is the reason why the EPA, as anagency had no explanations of the spill, even after nine days (Tubb1).
Apartfrom the Gold King Mine case, the environmentalists and the publiccite warnings that have been placed on the concern since 2004. One ofthe first warnings concerns the water levels and water shortage(McKinnon 1). There have been warnings that Arizona could run outwater in the next few years. The claims mostly arose from theprojections made by the Central Arizona Project.
TheCentral Arizona Project is the body responsible for the movement ofwater from Colorado to Phoenix and Tucson. The organization warnedthat the canal might reduce its deliveries to the urban areas by 2019(McKinnon 1). It appears as a gradual desertification of the highlyagricultural state. However, the Arizona water experts outline thatthere should not be any need to worry since the inconvenience is notthe first one. This warning places a valid claim to the public, whoclaim that the level of waters in most rivers had gone very low in2011 (McKinnon 1).
Thereported trends of water shortage in the state fuels the controversyas the debate touches on the residents worry about water. Taking thecase of river Colorado, it is possible to understand the public’sworry, which forms their side of the controversy. The situation isalarming because the water level in Colorado River has not increasedin more than a decade (McKinnon1).This is worrying because the river serves more than 40 millionpeople, including the residents of Arizona (McKinnon 1). Since theyear 2000, the river has recorded a continuous reduction in the level(McKinnon 1). As a result of this reduction, the blame is well placedon environmental agencies as they are seen to have ignored thesignals.
Anotherindicator of the public concern and fuel to the controversy is theadverse changes in the rainfall patterns. In Arizona, there has beena continued deterioration trend of rainfall levels, with the SkyHarbor station recording only 0.06 inches since June this year(McKinnon 1). This situation presents a challenge to the authoritiesto explain the causes and the steps taken towards the correction ofthe problem. Therefore, the public seems to have a valid argumentthat the environmental protection agencies like EPA have failed intheir duty, despite such alarming calls.
Thethree cases of water shortage and environmental degradationillustrates the concerns of the public and that of theenvironmentalists. While the environmental bodies have a valid blameon the industries, the public have a verifiable claim against thestate and federal environmental protection agencies like EPA.However, the two sides fail to recognize the fact that pollution isnot from the industries alone. Domestic activities also contribute tothe problem of pollution of water (SafeWater 2). The same case applies topollution and water shortage in Arizona. However, the resultingpollution is not as impactful as the main factor of industrialpollution. The case of Gold King Mine proves that the industrialpollution is a key contributor to water shortage in the state.
Inconclusion, the controversy that exists in Arizona is the blame gameon who takes the responsibility of the situation. The water shortagein the state is caused by the pollution of the water masses,especially rivers by the industrial activities. One main and recentcontroversy involves the Gold King Mine, a mining company from whosemine a spillage occurred. The damage caused by the spill created asituation that exemplifies the controversy of who takes the blame.While the environmentalists blame industrial players like the GoldKing Mine, the public blame the government protection agencies likeEPA. No matter where the blame falls, water pollution remains aconcern that every individual should ponder. Despite the debate,industrial pollution remains the largest polluter of the water massesand the greatest cause of water shortage in Arizona.
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