droughtThe main story is Salon today is something I have been wondering about for several weeks. We keep hearing about how the Georgia reservoirs have about eighty days of water left. The question nobody seems to be interested in answering (or even contemplating) is exactly what will happen to Atlanta and the surrounding area when those reservoirs actually run out, and everyone in North Georgia turns on their taps and nothing comes out.

Nov. 19, 2007 | Georgia’s on my mind. Atlanta, Ga. It’s a city in trouble in a state in trouble in a region in trouble. Water trouble. Trouble big enough that the state government’s moving fast.

Oh, yeah, the GOP God Squad has gotten right on it and taken swift and decisive action!

Just this week, backed up by a choir singing “Amazing Grace,” accompanied by three Protestant ministers, and 20 demonstrators from the Atlanta Freethought Society, Georgia’s Baptist Gov. Sonny Perdue led a crowd of hundreds in prayers for rain. “We’ve come together here,” he said, “simply for one reason and one reason only: to very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm.”

I think we all went over the results of that sanctimonious clusterf*%k last week.

But that, apparently, is the extent of the Governor’s plan for coping with what could shape up to be a humanitarian, economic, and environmental disaster.

I’ve Googled around, read scores of pieces on the subject, and they all — even the one whose first paragraph asked, “What if Atlanta’s faucets really do go dry?” — seem to end just where my question begins. It’s as if, in each piece, the reporter had reached the edge of some precipice down which no one cares to look, lest we all go over.

Based on the record of the last seven years, we can take it for granted that the Bush administration hasn’t the slightest desire to glance down; that no one in FEMA who matters has given the situation the thought it deserves; and that, on this subject, as on so many others, top administration officials are just hoping to make it to January 2009 without too many more scar marks. But, if not the federal government, shouldn’t somebody be asking? Shouldn’t somebody check out what’s actually down there?

HA HA HAAAA HAA HAAA!! You silly man. Nobody cares about that! Because God is going to save us. Oh, yes, he is. There’s too many good, praying Christians in Georgia for our Magical Sky-Fairy Father to let us sit here and descend into chaos and water riots. We’ve stopped teaching evolution in the schools. We’re still trying to ban Harry Potter. Georgia is a Good Christian State. I just don’t understand why He would smite us with this awful drought.

Despite the fact that Iraq and U.S. officials have made water projects among their top priorities, the percentage of Iraqis without access to decent water supplies has risen from 50 percent to 70 percent since the start of the U.S.-led war, according to an analysis by Oxfam International last summer. The portion of Iraqis lacking decent sanitation was even worse — 80 percent.

And I’m sure that the Army Corps of Engineers and the Republicans in charge at the state and federal level have a really, really good plan. They’re just going to surprise us with it for Christmas instead of the pony I asked for, the bastards.

In my work Inbox today, I found the following:

Athens, November 14 , 2007 – As the state of Georgia continues to grapple with extreme Level 4 drought conditions that threaten the water supply of millions of people, the Red Cross and its emergency partners encourage everyone to prepare for this and other potential disasters with a well-stocked disaster supplies kit. If you have never assembled a disaster supplies kit, the Red Cross urges you to start now, making water storage a top priority.

(…)

Having enough clean water is essential to life. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. The Red Cross recommends that everyone store at least one-gallon of water, per person, per day. You should store a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.

And I intend to do exactly that. If the state and federal government are too muddle-headed to come up with a workable plan, that can only mean one thing; that when the excrement hits the rotational ventilation device, a whole bunch of people who are already rich will get even richer as gallons of fresh water skyrocket in price and things start to get nasty. Ask Naomi Klein. She’ll tell you what’s up. Republicans live for this shiz.

Salon:

I mean, I’m hardly an expert on this, but what exactly are we talking about here? Someday in the reasonably near future could Atlanta, or Phoenix, which in winter 2005-06, went 143 days without a bit of rain, or Las Vegas become a Katrina minus the storm? Are we talking here about a new trail of tears? What exactly would happen to the poor of Atlanta? To Atlanta itself?

(…)

In the meantime, there may be no trail of tears out of Atlanta; there may even be rain in the city’s near future for all any of us know; but it’s clear enough that, globally and possibly nationally, tragedy awaits. It’s time to call in the first team to ask some questions.

Honestly, I don’t demand answers. Just a little investigation, some thought, and a glimpse or two over that precipice as the world turns … and bakes and burns.

“Oh, that TRex,” some of you may be thinking, “What an alarmist!”

Seriously, though, I live here and I don’t see anyone in government or public safety doing anything beyond urging us all to use less water, and given what happened in Katrina, that’s not exactly reassuring. So, all I can do, I guess, is stockpile 15-20 jugs of water under the bed to ensure my own household’s viability and cross my fingers.

Oh, that and pray for rain.