Too much water? Or is it not enough?

By Barbara Simpson

The country is focused on water – first, too much, as in the recent torrential rainstorms and the floods and slides they caused. Then there is the issue of not enough water, as in the terrible drought that has devastated much of the country but especially the far West.

But there are other problems involving water, and they are caused by us! One is the problem of increased electric cars on our highways. The other is the use of our water by foreign countries!

Here’s an example of what happens when a Tesla bursts into flames. It isn’t a simple case of pouring water on it and the fire goes out.

No. When that vehicle ignites, it takes water and more water and even more water – and often even that isn’t enough to extinguish the flames.

Recently, in Sacramento, California, a Tesla Model S spontaneously burst into flames on a highway. According to news reports, the driver was on Highway 50 in the afternoon, when smoke started coming from the front of the vehicle.

Police and fire officials responded to the emergency call and found the vehicle in flames. They were handling the emergency with two fire engines and a water-tender, but the car continued to burn despite those efforts, until the fire literally went out on its own, leaving the car totalled.

In fighting the fire, more than 6,000 gallons of water were used.

It was not clear what caused the fire but it is part of a federal investigation of other such Tesla incidents.

This wasn’t the first Tesla S fire Metro Fire of Sacramento officials have had to face. Last June, the same model car burst into flames while the vehicle was sitting in a wrecking yard, weeks after having been involved in a collision.

When firefighters arrived, the car was fully enveloped in flames, and while water was poured on it, the battery kept reigniting the fire. The Fire Department had video that showed that when the Tesla was moved onto its side so they could spray the battery directly, the only thing that happened was the car bursting into flames again from “residual heat.”

How did they eventually put the fire out?

Firefighters dug a pit, moved the car into it, and filled the pit with water, effectively submerging the battery compartment!

The whole effort used 4,500 gallons of water – essentially the same amount of water which would be used for a building fire.

It’s said that Tesla batteries may be at a higher risk of fire due to their lithium-ion technology – presenting a greater danger to owners and firefighters.

In addition to the water needed to fight these car fires, the West is dealing with a loss of its groundwater due to use by foreign companies and countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.

U.S. farmers needs the groundwater but are, in fact, in competition with foreign-owned farms that require huge amounts of water for thirsty crops such as alfalfa.

A number of foreign companies have purchased land in the American West. Because they’ve used up so much of their own water back home, they pump water in this country to grow the needed crops here, which are then shipped to their own countries!

It’s reported that the UAE now imports 80% of its food production.

A main reason for this is that in 2018, Saudi Arabia passed a law prohibiting farms there from growing thirsty crops such as alfalfa and hay – crops they need for their dairy herds.

Solution? Use American water for those crops, and they are.

One example is the Saudi-backed Almaral Company, which owns some 10,000 acres of farmland supplying Saudi dairies and is valued, as of last year, at $14.65 billion.

The company also owns some 3,500 acres in Southern California and uses water from the Colorado River for its crops.

Given that Arizona gets about 36% of its water from the Colorado and that supply is decreasing because of the drought – situations like this are bound to create international problems soon.

The effect of this is felt in the states. Cynthia Campbell, a water resources management adviser for the city of Phoenix, is quoted as saying, “I’m sorry, but there’s no Saudi Arabian milk coming back to Southern California or Arizona. The value of the agricultural output is not coming through in value to the U.S.”

Reaction to foreign farmland ownership is having a legal effect. It’s reported that the Texas Senate has passed a law banning citizens from nations hostile to the U.S. from buying state farmland. Those countries are China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. The reason for the proposed law is that such deals could jeopardize American food security. The bill also would ban Chinese ownership of oil, timber and mineral-bearing land.

Other states are also considering such legislation – Florida being one.

There’s no doubt such moves portend legal and international disputes in the near future – and it won’t be pretty.

Follow Barbara Simpson on Facebook.

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