Most immediate threat could be peak water

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by Row6, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    From the Guardian a summary of the world situation as we pump more water, much of it from "fossil aquifers" which are ancient and not quickly replenishable:

    "Peak oil has generated headlines in recent years, but the real threat to our future is peak water. There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water....

    During the last half of the 20th century, the world's irrigated area expanded from 232m acres (93m hectares) in 1950 to 706m in 2000. This tripling of world irrigation within 50 years was historically unique. But since then the growth in irrigation has come to a near standstill, expanding only 9% between 2000 and 2010.

    Farmers get their irrigation water either from rivers or from underground aquifers. Historically, beginning with the Sumerians some 6,000 years ago, irrigation water came from building dams across rivers, creating reservoirs that then enabled them to divert the water onto the land through a network of gravity-fed canals. This method of irrigation prevailed until the mid 20th century, but with few remaining sites for building dams the prospects for expanding surface irrigation faded. Farmers then turned to drilling wells to tap underground water resources.

    In doing so, they learned that there are two types of aquifers: those that are replenishable through rainfall, which are in the majority, and those that consist of water laid down eons ago, and thus do not recharge. The latter, known as fossil aquifers, include two strategically important ones, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain and the Ogallala aquifer under the US Western Great Plains....

    Tapping underground water resources, which got seriously underway in the mid-20th century, helped expand world food production, but as the demand for grain continued climbing the amount of water pumped continued to grow. Eventually the extraction of water began to exceed the recharge rate of aquifers from precipitation, and water tables began to fall. In effect, overpumping creates a water-based food bubble, one that will burst when the aquifer is depleted and the rate of pumping is necessarily reduced to the rate of recharge from precipitation...."​

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/06/water-supplies-shrinking-threat-to-food
  2. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Well, baby, well
  3. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    We need a punitive tax on water use.

    ...and to stop farm subs for any farmer or farming conglomerate that uses water to irrigate their crops.

    Bam.

    Another world crisis averted through NEO*-liberalism! ;)

    (* = not to be confused with classical liberalism).
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  4. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    Denounce a problem as non-existent because it implies doing something collectively about it.

    Another world crisis averted through modern "conservatism" ( not to be confused with actual conservativism).
  5. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    This would tie in well with that desal thread we had earlier. If that technology could be perfected or at least gotten to the point of getting usable water for construction, irrigation, etc - in other words water that has less salt than the "salting the fields" risk, but that perhaps still has too much for human consumption as drinking water - that would be a great help.
  6. Row6
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    Row6 New Member

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    Indeed, if it can. A recent personal discussion I had with someone who is expert in this field said at present desalinization is highly inefficient and costly, though it is possible he had not heard of the information recently posted on here.
  7. gator7_5
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    gator7_5 Well-Known Member

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    Mother nature won't let her planet overpopulate. Imo, there's going to be a serious plague, hopefully later than sooner, that's going to get it back to a healthy balance one day.
  8. SmootyGator
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    SmootyGator Well-Known Member

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    I agree. The balance will exist for a little bit, but then we'll f*ck it all up again! :D
  9. brainstorm
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    brainstorm VIP Member

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    This is one of the areas that needs a lot of attention - research, policy, engineering. And we need it soon.
  10. boligator
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    boligator Member

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    I concur gator7_5. However, I would be inclined to think that a MAJOR world/civil war might take place first as precious resources disappear. If you can't feed or even quench the thirst of your family, things are going to get ugly.
  11. brainstorm
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    brainstorm VIP Member

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  12. G8trGr8t
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    G8trGr8t Premium Member

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    desal is not inefficient and not nearly as expensive as it was 20 years ago (thanks to the Saudi's who helped do a lot of research) but it is more costly than using fresh water aquifers. not sure what "expert" you are talking to but maybe you should consider re-qualifying their opinion

    just like oil there is not a peak, but there is a peak cheap scenario. the cheap oil is/has been depleted and the cheap water is being depleted. this will happen with every resource/commodity as the population of the planet continues to expand and the lifestyles of the populace improve and consume more resources per capita.

    fwiw Tampa does 25 Million gallons per day desal and there is no reason other than cost that other areas cannot do the same. odd that people will pay $4 a day for a cup of coffee and $3 a day for their cell phone but ask them to pay $4 a day for safe drinking water delivered to their tap and they would lose all control.

    http://www.tampabaywater.org/tampa-bay-seawater-desalination-plant.aspx

    Here is a company preparing to build a 50 MGD desal plant in California

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-...on-financing-closes-on-1-billion-project.html

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  13. exiledgator
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    exiledgator Gruntled Premium Member

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    I recall talk back in the 80s of the Biscayne Aquifer drying up. Anyone seen the gauge on that water tank lately?
  14. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    I didn't 'denounce' the problem as non-existent--I simply predicted what the neo-libby *solution* would be for it--levy a tax!

    (Which seems somewhat confirmed with your reactive '...implies doing something collectively...').

    Pretty sure we know where this one's headed....seems we've seen this picture before.

    Identifiy a 'natural crisis';

    Blow it up into biblical proportions;

    Propose a tax scheme to [pretend to] remedy it;

    Villify anyone who dares question the basis or even extent of the alleged crisis;

    Wash, rinse, repeat...

    (...and 5 years from now, the polar icecaps will be melting, or rains will fall unceasingly for many weeks, or water will come spewing from who know where, and the world will be threatened with inundation/ flooding...and the next crop of neo*-libbies will propose an anti-flood tax...(of course never rescinding any previous drought tax...).


    (neo-libby* = not to be confused with classical liberalism). :grin:
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  15. icequeen
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    icequeen Well-Known Member

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    It was in this thread: http://www.gatorcountry.com/swampgas/showthread.php?t=265560

    And yes, it needs work, but this is one area that it should be worth investing to see if it can get perfected...or at least close to it.
  16. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    Glad you looked this up.
  17. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    Are you suggesting that today's liberalism isn't significantly distinguishable from 'classical liberalism'?
  18. orangeblueorangeblue
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    orangeblueorangeblue Well-Known Member

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    I'm not suggesting that in the least, no.
  19. Minister_of_Information
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    Minister_of_Information I'm your huckleberry Premium Member

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    This is an engineering problem, not an impending crisis. Higher prices will create all the necessary motives for innovation. In fact I have heard of some new cheaper technology recently with the potential to be a game changer, as it does not require a membrane and uses only small amounts of electricity.
  20. 92gator
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    92gator Well-Known Member

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    Cool. Thought you were mocking me.

    I've been making this distinction for years. IMO, classical liberalism has been pirated and perverted into something altogether different from what is championed as liberalism today, that makes it completley appropriate to distinguish between the two.

    (I thought that's what Row was alluding to with his distinction of modern conservatism--since it was directed at my post, and I haven't seen him take that angle with other posters (not saying he hasn't--I just haven't seen it)).

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