Tag Archives: civic issues

Civic Issues- San Joaquin River

I am going to talk about a problem with rivers that hits closer to home. A river in California called the San Joaquin River was recently named the most endangered river in America. It runs fromĀ Sierra Nevada across the Central Valley toward the San Francisco Bay. This river is one of the main water supplies for farming in California. This makes it very vulnerable to overuse.

The river has been rapidly drying up in the last few years. This year with the drought that California has had, really puts the San Joaquin River at risk. The main reason the river has been drying up so quickly is due to excessive diversions. The river’s water is so crucial to everyday life and farming in California that everyone wants piece of it. Wanting the water to be closer to them, companies have tried to expand how far the river spread, by increasing the paths it takes. This seem like a good idea, but in reality it just causes the river to dry up faster because it becomes so much more shallow, when people try to spread it out.

Another reason the river has been drying up is due to all the dams and levees that have been installed in the river. While some companies have been trying to get water to come to them, others down stream have been slowly watching the river dry up, because it can no longer reach to their area. More than 100 miles of the river have dried up because of selfish companies and wasteful people taking more than they should.

Everyone wants the water for different reasons, irrigation, fishing, and drinking. Due to the lack of water as late the hot debate of where the water should go has increased. There have been pushes in legislation that want to try to improve the river and hopefully get it back to how it once was. One main idea that was passed around was to change the crops that the farmers plant. If they change to lettuce, which can survive better in wet and dry climate, than the currently grown trees that constantly need water no matter what the climate is, then the farmers do not need to use as much water. This will increase the amount of water that can be distributed to other needs.

A big concern with the water in the San Joaquin River, is not only the amount of water but also the quality of the water. Many people use this water to bathe in, drink, and wash their food with. Although the do not do it directly in the river, like in most cases I have talked about so far with river damage, there is still a major concern with health issues. As the water amount has been decreasing the quality and filtration has decreased as well. Without proper movement through the river the water become still allowing for bacteria and other infections to grow in it without much attack against them. If the amount of water in the river does not increase I guess is that the quality of the water will get even worse, probably to the point where it is unsafe to drink or wash your clothes with.

The problem with the San Joaquin River is a primary example of supply and demand. As the supply diminishes that demand for it increase because it is a necessity of life. I think it is important though that the citizens that use the water realize how their actions can effect future generations drastically. Without freshwater, economies will crash, people will be forced to move, and the area around the river will become a desolate place.

Although there are pushes in the government to help this river out it seems like time is running low, just like the river, ironic I know. If there is any chance for this river to be saved action needs to be taken and quickly.

I also think it is important for the United States to realize, that even though our situations with water are not as bad as some countries we still have problems that we need to focus on. If we don’t we may end up like those other countries.


Civic Issue – Environment

My civic issue blog posts will focus on environmental issues. This will be a place where environmental issues around the world will be discussed. My first topic will focus on river pollution throughout the world. What is considered the most polluted river in the world? Why is the river so polluted? How can we help make these rivers less polluted.

According to underground.com Ganga River in India is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. They people that live near this river use it as a waste dump, bathing water, baptism, burial ceremonies, fishing, laundry water, the children use it as a swimming area and the people sometimes even use it as drinking water. Drinking the river’s polluted water usually causes severe illness, which sometimes leads to death. Even using the river as a bathing spot causes rashes and sores on the skin. This water is obviously extremely toxic, so why do some many people gather around it?

In history people congregated around the river because it was a source of fresh water, before it became pollutes. Towns were built near it so as to have easy access to the water. This is why in the present so many people have houses and companies near the river. But why do the people stay in present day when the water is no longer helpful to their society. One main reason that I found is that they don’t really have a choice. The Ganga River is the only big body of water near them, even if it is polluted, it is better than having no water at all. Another reason I can think of is that most people living in the towns near the river don’t have enough money or the resources to uproot their family and relocate. A lot of the towns near the river are struggling because of the lack of water quality, their fishing income has gone down, because fish are dying of diseases causes by the pollution, like I mentioned before people are dying because of diseases causes by the water, and the crops that they try to grow near the river don’t grow because of lack of nutrients in the soil.

Even with all the negative effects of the polluted water the people living in the areas don’t seem to be doing anything about it. The problem actually seems to be getting worse. It is believed that the river will cease to exist in 10 years because all of the sediment and other waste in it will cause the water to evaporate. If something isn’t done soon the citizens near the river will have no choice but to try to find a new home. It obvious that something needs to change, but how will that change happen when the towns around the river are too poor to pay for the resources to help clean the river up?

I think one place to start would be trying to stop the problem from getting worse. The people need to put in an effort to be consciously aware of what they are putting into the river and how that will effect their future. If the people stop using the river as a dump site, for trash and dead bodies, hopefully the conditions will stop getting worse, maybe even improve.

People that do have money and resources to help clean up the river should try to lend a helping hand, maybe donate money to the cause. Even volunteers could donate some of their time to teach the citizens of the towns healthier ways of living and how to improve their life style. Although the towns are the main reason that the river is so polluted, people who are aware of this problem and know of a way to help should do so.

Our environment’s condition should be everyone’s concern even if it doesn’t effect you specifically. There are many things we can do to help improve environmental conditions. Even if these things are just little, like recycling when you can or using environmentally safer products/chemicals. Take a look at whats around you and appreciate it, make sure our conditions don’t become like the people’s in India whose water causes them diseases and death.