We're Running out of water

While watching and hearing about our local crises on every media I realized that to few people realize that the water cycle is a Closed system and what affects one area will eventually effect us all. The chemical spill in WVa. ( said chemical helps to process coal BTW) is highly poisonous and heading down the Elk River to the Kanawaha and into the Ohio to flow right past us. Counties along the river from all three States are scrambling to protect their water supplies as chemists are busy calculating just how much of this crap will pollute our water supplies. Meantime FEMA is handing out free water to over 300,000 people in “coal country”. Authorities even had to shut down the Capitol. Of course the spokesperson for the offending company is pumping out statements that would make a sociopath blush but I digress. This incident and many others should be a wake up call to the deniers that, due to climate change and our own greed we may be deprived of the very thing that sustains life: water. One source I read (included here) states that at present use, and due to AGW some areas will run out of potable water by 2025. Scary thought due to the geopolitical climate being ripe for conflict. The US will still have plenty, ours is one of the largest water systems in the World but at the rate of pollution, especially if the government is made to back off regulations, it may become unpotable. And even though there’s plenty of seawater most countries couldn’t afford to build the desalination plants necessary to supply the millions who would need it on a daily basis. How’s the water in your area?
http://www.treehugger.com/about-treehugger/dumb-question-dept-if-earth-is-a-closed-system-and-were-running-out-of-water-wheres-it-all-going.html
Cap’t Jack

One advantage of being near the Great Lakes. Plenty of fresh water and too high up to be bothered by sea water rise. Gets kind of cold sometimes with that white junk falling everywhere. LOL
How do we deal with politicians that are idiots though? I wonder what penalties that company is going to get.
psik

Too early to tell but the suits (law suits that is) are lining up as we speak and this could be multistate as the pollution reaches the Mississippi River. The West Va. counties affected still have a water warning for the next 24 hours and we’re next.
Cap’t Jack

This problem seems especially dire in the communities that get their water from the Colorado river. There are a lot of communities sprouting up in some very arid areas out there at the same time that the river is at its lowest levels on record. I dont see how those communities will continue to survive even in the near future.

This is going to be a crisis in Africa before the U.S. Matter of fact, Bangladesh has been suffering from a severe water shortage for the past 25 years. But MacGyver raises an excellent point about communities in the Desert Southwest. The core of the problem goes back to overpopulation. We have exceeded our planet’s carrying capacity and no amount of food/water planning can help us unless we do something to reduce our population.

This is going to be a crisis in Africa before the U.S. Matter of fact, Bangladesh has been suffering from a severe water shortage for the past 25 years. But MacGyver raises an excellent point about communities in the Desert Southwest. The core of the problem goes back to overpopulation. We have exceeded our planet's carrying capacity and no amount of food/water planning can help us unless we do something to reduce our population.
Yes. Amen. Especially when the entire planet is now geared to produce populations of Consumers. Consumers! It's right there in the name....consume.

NPR ran with this story and one of the experts made a statement, and I’m paraphrasing here, that the water cycle is finite as this is all the water that ever was or ever will be so if we f… It up we’re truly doomed. And I often wondered how desert communities survived even in these areas where less than five inches of rain falls in a given year. Just how reliable is irrigation when mega cities like Los Vegas use millions of gallons from rivers and lakes in the area? I remember rationing in the late eighties where even we couldn’t wash our cars or water our lawns and crops in the Southeast failed, especially corn and soybeans. Everything’s connected!
Cap’t Jack

Any claim we’re running out of water is pure nonsense and stupidity.
We live on a planet that is 78% covered in water and have access to a practically infinite source of solar energy ten thousand times more than our entire civilization consumes.
We have a staggering abundance of energy and water. The only shortage on this issue is human intelligence and knowledge about those facts. Claiming we have a shortage of human beings would be more believable than this nonsense.

Here in the Bay area, we haven’t really had a winter. Our last and only winter ‘storm’ was in November. Birds are nesting and raising young…in January. Other than one unusually cold snap, it hasn’t been cold. The weather has been more like late summer. I’d say fall, except we are usually getting some rain in the fall. I have been conserving water since the last drought in the late '70s, and this year is shaping up to be just as dry.

Any claim we're running out of water is pure nonsense and stupidity.
Tell that to the people in Bangladesh. Brownsville, TX is facing severe water shortages too. How do you propose to combine energy and nonpotable water to provide drinking water and water for our crops?
Any claim we're running out of water is pure nonsense and stupidity.
Tell that to the people in Bangladesh. Brownsville, TX is facing severe water shortages too. How do you propose to combine energy and nonpotable water to provide drinking water and water for our crops? That issue is purely an issue of logistics, not supply. If I point to a barren and empty piece of land thousands of square miles in size without a single human being living in it, are you going to seriously suggest that demonstrates a clear indication of a shortage of human beings on the planet?

Walper its a gross oversimplification to say this is a problem of logistics. Solar desalinization plants are not free even if the energy that powers them is. In addition salt water and abundant sunshine are not always located in the same place which greatly increases the logistics and cost. Supplying even a small percentage of the water requirements of a country the size of the U.S. would be hugely expensive. That means that we would have to divert a large proportion of labor and other resources to provide our critical water supply.
The U.S. might be able to do this to a point but even here it would have a devastating effect on the economy if we had to get a significant part of our water through desalinization. In less affluent areas of the world this is not even an option.

Walper its a gross oversimplification to say this is a problem of logistics. Solar desalinization plants are not free even if the energy that powers them is.
Who said such plants are free?
In addition salt water and abundant sunshine are not always located in the same place which greatly increases the logistics and cost.
So you claim pinning the problem on logistics is an oversimplification and then point out the problem is...logistics.
Supplying even a small percentage of the water requirements of a country the size of the U.S. would be hugely expensive.
I guarantee it would be less expensive than not having the water available to run the country and the ensuing problems that creates.
That means that we would have to divert a large proportion of labor and other resources to provide our critical water supply. The U.S. might be able to do this to a point but even here it would have a devastating effect on the economy if we had to get a significant part of our water through desalinization. In less affluent areas of the world this is not even an option.
Since when is an abundance of work and jobs devastating to an economy?

Robert, Brownsville, TX, is facing a water shortage because people upstream are using the water in the Rio Grande before it reaches Brownsville. I don’t know if you are familiar with the area, but South Texas is a very poor region and the people living there cannot afford a desalinization plant. This is not a matter of logistics, it is overpopulation and economics.
Furthermore, citing the Earth as being 78 percent covered in water is disingenuous. Ninety-eight percent of that water will kill you if you drink it, or kill your crops if you trying watering them with the water. I’m sure you knew that, which is the reason I suggested you are being disingenuous.

Robert, Brownsville, TX, is facing a water shortage because people upstream are using the water in the Rio Grande before it reaches Brownsville. I don't know if you are familiar with the area, but South Texas is a very poor region and the people living there cannot afford a desalinization plant. This is not a matter of logistics, it is overpopulation and economics.
I don't dispute the existence of problems, I dispute the notion we have any kind of water shortage problem.
Furthermore, citing the Earth as being 78 percent covered in water is disingenuous. Ninety-eight percent of that water will kill you if you drink it, or kill your crops if you trying watering them with the water. I'm sure you knew that, which is the reason I suggested you are being disingenuous.
Hence why I mentioned the staggeringly massive amounts of free energy we have to deal with that problem, whereas just boiling water can yield fresh drinking water from sea water. Which I'm also sure you knew already as well, but didn't mention because presumably you're being disingenuous?

Well maybe you should become a consultant to the Texas Water Development Board and explain how easy it is to supply water to Brownsville. I’m San Antonio would be very happy for your help also. They must be idiots, thinking up complicated solutions such as desalinization plants when all they have to do is boil sea water and voila! Problem solved.
Desalinization plants are basically large stills, and they are expensive. Very expensive. Scaling them up to supply water needs for millions of people and the cropland to feed them will be prohibitively expensive. One of my professors was part of a team that studied how Brownsville can meet its future water needs. They concluded the only possible way is to build a desalinization plant. Unfortunately, only way to build the plant would be to raise the price of water past the point where the people in Brownsville could afford to buy it, and that does not even take into account building a plant large enough to irrigate farmland in South Texas.
I’ve spent the last few years in college studying environmental policy, and we’ve looked at these water problems closely. There are no easy answers, and yes, you are oversimplifying things when you write it off to logistics. How do you propose getting water to Bangladesh? Where will you build the plant? How will you transport the water? How will you finance the project? Who will pay off the debt?
This is much more complicated than just stating that creating jobs will help the economy. This will take planning and money. A lot of money. Money which someone will have to repay.

Walper its a gross oversimplification to say this is a problem of logistics. Solar desalinization plants are not free even if the energy that powers them is.
Who said such plants are free?
In addition salt water and abundant sunshine are not always located in the same place which greatly increases the logistics and cost.
So you claim pinning the problem on logistics is an oversimplification and then point out the problem is...logistics.
Supplying even a small percentage of the water requirements of a country the size of the U.S. would be hugely expensive.
I guarantee it would be less expensive than not having the water available to run the country and the ensuing problems that creates.
That means that we would have to divert a large proportion of labor and other resources to provide our critical water supply. The U.S. might be able to do this to a point but even here it would have a devastating effect on the economy if we had to get a significant part of our water through desalinization. In less affluent areas of the world this is not even an option.
Since when is an abundance of work and jobs devastating to an economy? It IS an oversimplification because flipantly using the word logistics in the way you did implies that its a simple matter of shuffling a few things around when in fact its a matter of spending a great deal of money we dont have. While not finding a water supply would disastrous for the country you act as if there is no other option. Of course there are other options. We could limit building and growth in areas that dont have adequate water resources. We could expand the use of water saving measures like low flow toilets and showers, xeroscaping, recycling grey water and dozens of other measures that would reduce our insanely high rate of water use. We could also take better care of our aquifers by requiring safety measures so plants using toxic chemical cant accidentally contaminate our water supply. "Since when is an abundance of work and jobs devastating to an economy?" When the project that provides those jobs could have been avoided with better planning and when it diverts resources from other activities like food production, health care, infrastructure and on and on. If consumers are spending $500/month on water bills instead of $50 and their food costs twice as much because irrigation is too expensive then consumers also have less to spend on consumer goods which drive most of the economy.

I never claimed the problems were simple, easy to solve or cheap, DarronS. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t strawman my position and lie about arguments I never made.
My objection is to the notion we’re ‘running out’ of water in any literal sense, or energy for that matter. There is plenty of water available and plenty of energy to purify and transport it. The only real issue is logistics, as defined here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistics
“Logistics is the management of the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet some requirements, for example, of customers or corporations”.
You can sit there as long as you want claiming how expensive, labour intensive, time consuming and planning is required to solve the problem. My objection and sole objection has been to the notion we don’t have enough water (and necessary energy) to solve it.

Yes, we do have enough water and energy to solve the problem. You are ignoring all the other factors: economics, logistics (despite what you claim you have not answered my questions regarding logistics), politics, engineering and probably several unforeseen issues in trying to deliver enough potable water to the people who need it. Maybe you’re guilty of wishful thinking instead of being disingenuous, but you are clearly ignoring the breadth of this problem.

It IS an oversimplification because flipantly using the word logistics in the way you did implies that its a simple matter of shuffling a few things around when in fact its a matter of spending a great deal of money we dont have.
I'm not interested in what you think I'm implying. You can address my actual arguments. Simply sitting there and lying that I claimed logistics is a simple matter accomplishes nothing.
While not finding a water supply would disastrous for the country you act as if there is no other option.
Another lie on your part. I never claimed there was a single solution nor lack of options.
Of course there are other options. We could limit building and growth in areas that dont have adequate water resources. We could expand the use of water saving measures like low flow toilets and showers, xeroscaping, recycling grey water and dozens of other measures that would reduce our insanely high rate of water use. We could also take better care of our aquifers by requiring safety measures so plants using toxic chemical cant accidentally contaminate our water supply.
All of which are great points, and has absolutely nothing to do with my point that the claim we have a water shortage problem is utter nonsense.
"Since when is an abundance of work and jobs devastating to an economy?" When the project that provides those jobs could have been avoided with better planning and when it diverts resources from other activities like food production, health care, infrastructure and on and on. If consumers are spending $500/month on water bills instead of $50 and their food costs twice as much because irrigation is too expensive then consumers also have less to spend on consumer goods which drive most of the economy.
None of which has anything to do with my point we do not have a water shortage problem on our planet, nor an energy shortage problem which makes the prior point even more laughable.