Opinion

Bob Mitchell: Water concerns should to be addressed now

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

I haven’t seen a full report on the Army Corps of Engineers’ recently released Reservoir Plan for Table Rock Lake, but there is obviously a disappointing factor if news reports are full and accurate.

The use of the lake’s waters by municipalities was a hot item several years ago. At the time, some city of Cassville officials were interested and involved in efforts that could lead to such a possible program being initiated by the government.

But, since this possibility was not mentioned in news releases of the new plan, there has to be an assumption that the Corps did not take any action one way or the other on this important request.

In case memories aren’t clear, this project has been an important one for several years. Such a possibility exists out of Beaver Lake and Stockton reservoir with rather large municipalities using lake water as at least a portion of their water supply.

Even though Cassville is now blessed with adequate water sources with deep wells, it is a known fact that some time in the future underground sources of water, which are constantly being tapped for human or industrial supply, could be exhausted. When and if this happens, and those who watch these things say it will, someone in charge of such things or with the power to make decisions, will wish they had acted in a timely matter.

Organization included 16 counties

In past years, Tri-State Water Coalition is an organization that included 16 counties in the southwest corner of Missouri that had taken a lead in this possibility. Also included in the area are portions of Oklahoma and Kansas. So far as Missouri is concerned, population of the area is about 815,000 people, which is a footprint of about 13.6 percent the number of people now residing in the state at that time.

At last report, there were 18 municipalities or organizations concerned who have joined the Coalition as those concerned about this, which is the most precious of all our resources. Importance of their goal is stressed in a statement, “Southwest Missouri is an important economic engine producing jobs and supporting the tax base through strong growth. Without additional water supply and infrastructure to meet future water needs that economic engine will sputter and stall.”

Growth estimates through 2060

By their own studies with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, that included input by both the Kansas City and Little Rock districts of the Corps of Engineers, projected population levels for the Tri-State Coalition through the year 2060 to increase 71 percent from what is was in 2010.

This type of growth, in commercial, industrial, agriculture and human, requirements makes a use of federal reservoirs as a source of water absolutely necessary.

There is nothing in the way for favorable decisions to be made before they become an emergency. Such projects exist all around us, why not for the Tri-State area?

It would be a sad case, if for some reason this possibility had been spiked by either some agency of government or even more severe if an individual in government had turned thumbs down on this possibility.

There will likely come a day, if the world and its population survives, that water will become such a commodity that it will be out of reach as scarcity or the cost will be prohibitive. Lots of possibilities have been put forth in the past considering shortages of water.

vThink of your water use

Stop and think for a minute about your use of water. Think what you might do if you had to do more than turn on a faucet to get a drink, brush your teeth, wash clothes, etc.

Full moon has many names

Have you ever wondered what names are attached to full moons? The origin isn’t available, but here they are: January, wolf moon; February, snow; March, worm; April, pink; May, flower; June, strawberry; July, buck; August, sturgeon; September or October, harvest; October, hunters; November, beaver; and December, cold.

We are just past March, the worm moon. It is so named because that’s the time earth worms start coming to the surface.

In ancient times it was common to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month instead of the solar year, which is the basis for the 12 months in our modern calendar.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.