If The Earth Is 71% Covered By Water And Levels Are Rising, How Can We Be In A Drought?
In the prosperous state of California, as well as other parts of the world, the amount of rainfall has decreased to the point where these regions are experiencing seasons of drought, causing governments to ration water even to the point where some municipalities have no water at all. At the same time, global warming predictions show that sea levels will rise to the point where many coastal communities will be overcome within our lifetime—some islands have already disappeared!
In many less prosperous areas of the world, scientists, engineers, governments, and organizations (both profit-based and non-profit), have been working to bring safe drinking water to the local populations. While these solutions are not as free as rainwater falling into a riverbed or reservoir, they nonetheless provide the needed water for life.
In other areas, desalination has been used to turn salt water into fresh water. While the current solutions are relatively expensive, the techniques have improved, and their costs have decreased. During the presidential election year of 2016, some believe the solution to our problems is to build walls around the US, but perhaps a better use of our time and resources should be spent building ditches.
One near-future science fiction story I’m working on involves the protagonist developing the Upper, Middle, and Lower Pacific Desalination Trenches, also called the Upper, Middle, and Lower Pac Desalt Rivers, which run from the Pacific Ocean across California to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, bringing salt water that is progressively desalinated but also used for salt water fisheries, gardens, and mineral extraction. My protagonist funds part of her initial work from contracts with the inland states which will be receiving the inflow, as well as from licenses and contracts with other countries and organizations throughout the world that want the same results. She also receives contracts with other regions threatened by rising water levels or increased hurricane activity to develop sub-level reservoirs that replace the need for failing levees.
Is this really science fiction? The technologies to do these things exist today, but the willingness to do them requires the people of our world to think differently. Are there significant challenges? Yes, but everything built today was extremely challenging at some point until a degree of trial and error made their construction relatively easy.