For many Americans, the idea that the country might someday run out of fresh water is unfathomable. And while that possibility is extremely far off, there is a chance that the country will start feeling some of the effects of a shrinking water supply much sooner.
Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., reminded the public of this potential problem at a conference Thursday in Albuquerque, N.M.
“The danger is clear, and we have to act to protect our way of life in the West,” Udall said at the conference. This week, he will propose what he called a modest amendment, one that would grant $15 million for water pilot projects nationwide, to a Senate bill on energy efficiency.
Global water consumption has tripled in the past 50 years. In the United States, the demand for fresh water will exceed the supply by 40 percent by 2030, according to a State Department report last year. Water scarcity results from short- and long-term droughts and human activity. Each month, 3.9 trillion gallons of water are consumed in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a practice that many feel could give the U.S. energy independence, requires millions of gallons of water every day to extract natural gas from the earth. Nearly all of that water is lost.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, at least 36 states are faced with local or regional water shortages. In New Mexico, the Rio Grande is on the World Wildlife Fund’s list of the top 10 endangered rivers in the world. Last summer, residential wells in the Midwest, from Indiana to Missouri, began drying up, making it difficult to “wash dishes, or fill a coffee urn, even to flush the toilet,” The New York Times reported.
In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday promised to oversee the divvying up of $2 billion to finance water projects.
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President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.