Governor Tom Vilsack says his visit to Israel earlier this month highlighted a terrorist threat that he’d not thought much about.
“I did have an opportunity to visit with experts in terms of water issues,” Vilsack says. “So much of the emphasis on water is on the water that we drink. So little is, in terms of terrorist activities, is put on the water that is consumed by livestock and is used for irrigation purposes.”
Vilsack says he hadn’t thought much about the different water sources that could be subject to a terror strike. But Vilsack says the Israelis have. “When you live in a country surrounded by countries that don’t necessarily get along with you, you think about all contingencies, as you should, and that’s part of what we should be thinking about in the United States,” Vilsack says. “The rules of warfare have changed.”
Vilsack says terrorists now strike at “innocents” and U.S. policymakers must change their mindset and make different preparations such as attempting to protect the entire water supply, not just drinking water for humans.
About 75 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water in the oceans, lakes, rivers and wetlands, plus there are underground acquifers. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 408 billion gallons of water are withdrawn from sources like lakes and acquifers and used in the U.S. every day to generate electricity, irrigate crops or provide drinking water to humans. Vilsack spent about a week in Israel.