Editor’s Notebook

Aug. 11 – The Texas water supply will be woefully inadequate to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population within 50 years.

I will not likely be hindered much by the shortage since I will be 117 and will have given up bathing and probably will have donated my fishing rods to various great-great-grandchildren for use as wall decorations and such. But those little tykes may need occasional refreshment and their mothers or wives likely will demand regular washings.

The statistics indicate that the population of Texas will double in 50 years, so demand for water will increase significantly. Water supply, however, will drop by 17 percent, leaving a significant shortage.

All this new knowledge came from a seminar I just left, a session at the Texas Produce Conference in San Antonio. Comer Tuck, with the Texas Water Development Board, was the bearer of these dire predictions. Even direrer (I know that’s not a word) is the expected effect on agricultural irrigation. Projections indicate farmers will have significantly less water for crop use by 2060.

In another session this afternoon, former congressman Charlie Stenholm said the population of the world will double within that same period. That means more demand for food. “And we’ll have to produce more food on fewer acres,” Stenholm said.

So, here’s the dilemma: The world’s farmers must provide enough food for about twice as many consumers as we do now, on less land and with less water.

We’ve also learned that funding for agricultural research and development remains flat at best, or, more likely, continues to diminish. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much at math, but even I can see that this arithmetic doesn’t add up to a comfortable existence for future generations. It does equal a bunch of hungry, thirsty, dirty people fighting tooth and toenail for every crumb of food and drop of water they can get. It would be the basis for a really bad science fiction movie if it weren’t so possible.

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