The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Virgil Vaupel
Thanks for Listening 

The Thing About Water


Oh yeah, you see water all around the United States in our rivers, lakes and streams and think “How can we ever run out of drinking water?” Stay tuned and I’ll give you a tutorial on our diminishing water supply right after a word from our sponsor How Long’s sake’ batter dipped prairie slugs on the half shell. Yum Yumm, and available at your favorite grocery store’s freezer department. Wrapped in either rice paper or corn husks. Your choice.

Thanks for stickin’ around. Now to the water situation.

The globe is 75 percent covered with water. Hey, that’s a lot of gallons. Problem is that you can only drink 2.5 percent of it. Drinking salinic (my word, not Websters) sea water will give you a prime case of the screamin’ squirts, so we’re stuck with just the 2.5 percent potable for the world’s 5.5 billion folks to enjoy.

Right here in the US it’s been said that each and every one of us uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water each day. Here’s how.

A full tub of bath water will use up 36 gallons. Five gallons per minute are used taking a shower. It takes two gallons to brush your teeth and two gallons to wash your hands and face and to shave your face and legs.

Your dishwasher will drink 10 gallons, and if you hand wash dishes, you are using about 15 gallons. It takes about 25 gallons of precious water to wash your cloths in a wash machine. And the most used thing in your house is the toilet. The newer energy efficient toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush.

Every man, woman and child will use 29,200 gallons of water per year while washing, swimming, watering the lawn, washing the car, washing the dog, and washing windows along with the afore-mentioned water using activities.

Valley County citizens will go through about 21 million gallons of water each year and that figure doesn’t count livestock water.

Cattle and horses will each drink 40 to 45 gallons per day in the summer and 30 gallons in the winter. How many head of cows are there in VC? Twenty-five thousand? Livestock water consumption in the US is about 2.25 billion gallons per day with Texas, California and Oklahoma’s cattle, horses, hogs, sheep, llamas, ducks and chickens using about 95 million gallons of water every day per state.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research says the water situation is the greatest threat the world is facing right now. Now friends, I don’t want to come across sounding like Al Gore, but the numbers don’t lie.

Fort Peck Lake holds about 18,700,000 acre feet of water as the fifth largest fresh water lake in the Continental US. That would be somewhere in the vicinity of 6.158 TRILLION gallons of water. Sounds like a bunch but if no water came in and no water went out and our water consumption stayed as it is these days the lake would be nothing but a pleasant memory and a mud hole in five years if it were the only water supply in the US. (Someone with a larger abacus than mine can check my figures. Where’s Horace when you need him!)

We are in a “water stress” situation meaning the demand is exceeding the supply. Look at the diminishing glaciers in Glacier Park. They used to account for a whole bunch of water coming down the Missouri, Milk and Marias rivers.

There are two things we can’t survive without. Water and truck drivers. Water to grow the food and truckers to bring it to us.

In closing I would just like to say ... save some water for your grandkids and mine. Shower with a friend.

That’s it for now folks. Thanks for listening.

P.S. I would like to thank Sandy Nelson for compiling the Yesterday’s Courier Memories page. It’s an interesting read. She also does all the copy writing. When people like me send in a story, it’s Sandy’s job to put it in the proper newspaper form, type it and send it to the printer. She really worries me though. She doesn’t watch her fingers when she types! Thanks Sandy.


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