Bread may be the staff of life, but it's a claim that conveniently overlooks the value of water to almost every life form on our increasingly overstressed planet.
Animals, plants, fish and insects all need some kind of access to water just to survive another day, and an absence or surplus of the precious liquid affects ecosystems in dramatic ways. Floods, tsunamis and hurricanes bring devastation while the absence of the stuff is equally traumatic as it leads to droughts, wild fires, famines and disease.
Not only does it sustain life, humans have harnessed the power of water to create hydroelectric dams, solved transportation issues with canals, made a desert bloom in Israel, irrigated mountains in Peru, and wowed tourists in Versailles and Las Vegas with spectacular fountains.
All over the world, people's lives are dependant on their access to water. In Africa, tribes trek miles every day to collect water and bring it back to their villages, just as great herds of animals migrate hundreds of miles in an effort to follow the seasonal fluctuations in the water supply.
Here in Canada we are blessed with one of the greatest concentrations of fresh water on the planet - so much so that we take it for granted.
Nomadic tribes around the world cherish every drop of water but here in North America, we poop in it and spray it on our lawns in an effort to make our homes look pretty.
Fresh water is so plentiful here that we don't even give it a second thought. This point was driven home last month when it was revealed the province of British Columbia doesn't have a workable groundwater management plan.
The province's negligence on the topic came to light when it was reported in the Province that Swiss corporate giant Nestlé was sucking more than 260 million litres of water out of the ground near Hope every year to supply its burgeoning bottled water business.
And the price this multibillion dollar corporate giant paid for that water? Nothing. Nada, zero, zip, sweet tweet, nothing.
That's not Nestlé's fault, it's ours. It's our own egregious lack of foresight in managing what may turn out to be the most precious resource in a nation rife with natural abundances that allows such exploitation to occur.
Never mind the dollars in tax revenue that our cash-strapped provincial coffers are missing out on, the impact of our water mismanagement could be felt for years.
For starters, 260 million litres is a heck of a lot of water. An Olympic-sized swimming pool holds 2.5 million litres of water so that translates into 104 Olympic swimming pools being siphoned out of the local water supply in Hope. It's not an ocean mind you, but it's still significant and that amount is being pulled out of the ground every year.
Because this water comes from the ground, the cumulative effects of the missing fluid are hard to measure. What we do know is that humans are remarkably dense when it comes to interactions with Mother Nature.
We profess amazement when, after years of using the seas as a garbage dump, scientists find massive islands of plastic junk in the middle of the oceans. We are shocked when an oil tanker slaloming through ice-riddled inlets in Alaska finally slams into a rock and dumps crude oil into the environment.
We welcome the thought of warmer weather in the northern reaches of the continent because of climate change, conveniently ignoring the starving polar bears that no longer have ice floes to traverse out to their traditional hunting ranges.
And we declare the air pollution problem in Beijing solved when the government there shuts down manufacturing for a couple of weeks in an effort to create picture perfect postcard images of the city during the Olympic Games.
Ecosystems are a delicate balancing act and when any part of the structure changes, the effects can be far reaching. Pulling hundreds of millions of litres of water out of the ground does have an impact. The ground water tables are affected, which in turn alters the amount of water that ends up in rivers and wells. Less water in the rivers can lead to an increase in the temperature of the streams, which threatens fish stocks. Less water in the wells increased the concentration of chemicals and fertilizer run off, making the water undrinkable.
When rivers are lower and the volume of water they deliver to the deltas and oceans drops, the salinity levels of the large saltwater bodies rise, making them inhospitable to marine life - including valuable salmon stocks.
And these are just the effects seen from removing significant amounts of water from one source. Imagine the impact of multiple operations of this kind in the province, coupled with the environmental costs that come with countless instances of mine tailings, oil and gas exploration, fracking, deforestation, pipeline spills and hydroelectric dam construction.
But hey, it's a small price to pay for the convenience of sipping from a plastic bottle filled with the same water you can get for free from your kitchen tap.
Michael Booth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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