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American Thinker
American Thinker
2 Dec 2023
David Stuckenberg


NextImg:Water scarcity in America

The U.S. forecast for the fresh water supply is not good. Iowa is proof. Today, one-third of Iowa is in extreme drought. For much of America, drought is becoming permanent aridity or desertification. While many blame climate change for water scarcity, the time to shift focus from cause to crisis mitigation is now.

In Indiana, within the next five to 10 years, the state will have a 10-million-gallon a day freshwater shortfall. In New Mexico, pivot arm irrigation wells are drying up at 30-50 wells per day as aquifers fall due to insufficient recharge rates. The story is much the same across the entire desert southwest and Midwest.

As agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are tossing billions at water infrastructure and supply management, the underlying issues are not being solved because the problem is new but the solutions being offered are the same.

We must not be tied to old thinking when new thinking and innovation are the only thing that can offer acceptable outcomes. Here is the challenge: according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), humanity must make 70% more food for the world with 40% less water. Impossible? Not at all.

As the rest of the United States struggles to divide up dwindling water supplies, Midwestern states like Iowa can get ahead of the water shortage power curve by developing new strategies now. One way to make more food with less water is to control evaporation and use more precise watering. When this is coupled with CO2 enrichment, crop yields may be increased by up to 20 times while using 95% less water. This is not new science, it's proven.

It is probable that water resource issues will become more pressing with time. And remember, water is food, and food is water -- without water, all commerce stops. Water is the economic potential energy of a state. 

By planning for innovation, considering solutions and proposing novel ideas, states like Iowa can continue to thrive as a critical producing state in America's breadbasket. Young scientists, 4-H, FFA, and extension offices should place emphasis on water, water management, and innovation. When we make this kind of thinking part of our culture, problem solving becomes a habit. And the ability to field solutions accelerates.

When looking at science fiction, ideas like moisture farming from Luke Skywalker's dry planet are actually feasible. For more than seven years a group of scientists and engineers at my company have been developing technologies that allow water to be harvested from air at utility-scale.

This technology means that up to millions of gallons a day can be harvested from the air for farming, aquifer recharge, or regenerative ranching. This tech is already in use by multiple branches of the military including the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army. Once water is harvested from the air, it's returned to the air in about nine minutes. If this was an aquifer, it could take up to 900 years.

While ideas such as using renewable water from air might sound new, we need new ideas to break out of old paradigms and face with boldness new challenges. Henry Ford once said, “If I asked the customer what he wanted he would have said a faster horse.” So, involving our youth and young in our critical problem solving will bridge the generation gap and help propel us forward.

We must prepare the water solutions we need today. We already recognize the issues. Once water scarcity arrives, it's often too late to implement sensible solutions. It's time to focus on outcomes that will keep states like Iowa and other breadbasket states growing well into the next generation and beyond. Our food and national security depend on it.

David Stuckenberg is an executive and military strategist, entrepreneur, inventor, decorated veteran Air Force pilot and founder of Genesis Systems, an innovative company helping solve global water scarcity. He holds a Ph.D. in international affairs from King’s College London. David, his wife Shannon, and their five children, reside in Tampa, FL.

Image: Water Alternatives Photos