Water: Where will it come from in 2050?

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#1 Michaelangelica

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 12:47 AM

We are fast running out of fresh water now for 4+B people.
What are the alternatives.
Where will future suplies come from for faming, industry and domestic use?

Quote:
Sydneysiders set a worthy example

WE HAVE followed The Age's letters with interest, having recently moved from Sydney.
People in Melbourne don't understand how to save water.
Hasn't anyone heard of a lavender sand bath?
A children's sand pit is perfect for this.

As for flushing the loo, just don't flush.
We've turned our water closet into an Australian native frog habitat.
And when you need to go to the toilet — the compost bin and lemon tree are a great replacement.
When the neighbours complain about the smell and flies, we reply: "Don't you know there's a drought?"

MORE AT
Audrey and the Bad Apples: Ooh...looks like rain kids. Go get your buckets.

Has anyone heard of the old CSIRO's inventions of "Memtec" and "Sirotherm"?

China Faces 'World's Worst Water Crisis'
(Reuters, Nov. 1, 2005) China is struggling to overcome what a minister called the world's worst water crisis caused by widespread drought, pollution, rapid economic growth and waste.

http://taiwansecurit...ters-011105.htm

POPULATIONS OUTRUNNING WATER SUPPLY
AS WORLD HITS 6 BILLION

Lester R. Brown and Brian Halweil

As world population approaches 6 billion on October 12, water tables are falling on every continent, major rivers are drained dry before they reach the sea and millions of people lack enough water to satisfy basic needs.

Population Outrunning Water Supply as World Hits 6 Billion | Worldwatch Institute

The Connection: Water and Energy Security

The energy security of the United States is closely linked to the state of its water resources. No longer can water resources be taken for granted if the U.S.
Both are ways of making water from the sea or waste water.

The Connection: Water and Energy Security by Allan R. Hoffman

water > overview > freshwater: lifeblood of the planet

Freshwater: lifeblood of the planet
Posted: 17 Jun 2005

Freshwater is the liquid of life. Without it the planet would be a barren wasteland. The supply of water is finite, but demand is rising rapidly as population grows and as water use per capita increases. In an effort to spur action to meet the impending crisis, the UN General Assembly has proclaimed the period from 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”. This began on World Water Day, 22 March 2005. It is badly needed.

Globally, between 12.5 and 14 billion cubic metres of water are available for human use on an annual basis. In 1989, this amount equaled about 9,000 cubic metres per person per year and by 2000 had dropped to around 7,800 cubic metres per person. In 2025 the amount of water per capita is expected to fall to 5,100 cubic metres per person as the world's population grows from 6 billion to over 8 billion.

Click here for a map showing the availability of freshwater in 2000

Even this amount would be enough to meet human needs, if freshwater were evenly distributed. But available freshwater supplies are not distributed evenly around the globe, throughout the seasons, or from year to year.

peopleandplanet.net > water > overview > freshwater: lifeblood of the planet

Major rivers, aquifers, wetlands and lakes are being drained to cope with expanding populations. Many large rivers now run dry before they reach the sea, as freshwater is diverted for agriculture and dams. Once-great rivers like the Yellow in China, the Ganges in India, the Nile in Egypt and the Colorado in the United States regularly dry up or clog up, with obvious consequences for human health, especially for people who depend intimately upon them for drinking water.

peopleandplanet.net > water > newsfile > 'blue revolution' needed to meet water needs

Tapping industrial ingenuity

AL FRY and WALTER RAST

assess the part that industry can play
in safeguarding water resources into
the next century

Industry currently accounts for only about one-fifth of human water use. Agriculture, by comparison, accounts for about two-thirds. But with industrial output projected to increase four- to five-fold before 2050, its freshwater requirements are also bound to increase.
. . .
However, the situation is now changing. By 2050, a total population of 8 to 10 billion will require more food, goods and services, all of which will require water. Some 2 to 4 billion more people than today will need water to drink, bathe and cook. As a result, in some places, water for industrial expansion may not be available at any price.

The world's water supply is constantly recycled in a solar-driven process of evaporation of water from rivers, lakes and the oceans, as well as from plants, and its subsequent precipitation back on to the Earth's surface. Rain, snow and sleet return about 45,000 cubic kilometres of freshwater per year, but the reality is that the world's freshwater supply is finite and relatively constant. Further, water is used and re-used many times by humans along many rivers before it flows back into the sea.

Tapping industrial ingenuity

1. How much water is available on earth and how much of this water is available for humans?

Approximately 1385 million cubic kilometres of water are available on earth. 97,5% of the water is salt water that can be found mainly in oceans. Only 2,5% is freshwater that can be used by plants, animals and humans. However, nearly 90% of this freshwater is not readily available, because it is centred in icecaps of the Antarctic. Only 0.26% of the water on this world is available for humans and other organisms, this is about 93.000 cubic kilometres. Only 0.014% of this water can be used for drinking water production, as most of it is stored in clouds or in the ground.
2. How much freshwater will be available for one person?

Increases in world population means increased water use and less availability on a per capita basis. In 1989 there was some 9,000 cubic metres of freshwater per person available for human use. By 2000, this had dropped to 7,800 cubic metres and it is expected to plummet to 5,100 cubic metres per person by 2025, when the global population is projected to reach 8 billion.
3. What is the total world annual consumption of potable water and seawater?

People already use over half the world's accessible freshwater now, and may use nearly three-quarters by 2025. Over the twentieth century, the world annual water use has grown from about 300 km3 to about 2,100 km3 (see chart)

Specific questions on water quantities

Water Now More Valuable Than Oil?
From Larry West,
Savvy Investors and Successful Companies are Turning Water Into Gold
The most valuable commodity in the world today, and likely to remain so for much of this century, is not oil, not natural gas, not even some type of renewable energy. It’s water—clean, safe, fresh water.

When you want to spot emerging trends, always follow the money. Today, many of the world’s leading investors and most successful companies are making big bets on water.

Water Now More Valuable Than Oil?

Water Scarcity Could Affect Billions:
Is This the Biggest Crisis of All?
by Michael McCarthy

Glug-glug: Not normally a sound of foreboding. But mankind's most serious challenge in the 21st century might not be war or hunger or disease or even the collapse of civic order, a UN report says; it may be the lack of fresh water.

Population growth, pollution and climate change, all accelerating, are likely to combine to produce a drastic decline in water supply in the coming decades, according to the World Water Development Report, published today. And of course that supply is already problematic for up to a third of the world's population.

Water Scarcity Could Affect Billions: Is This the Biggest Crisis of All?

“Of all the social and natural crises we humans face, the water crisis is the one that lies at the heart of our survival and that of our planet Earth,” says UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.

“No region will be spared from the impact of this crisis which touches every facet of life, from the health of children to the ability of nations to secure food for their citizens,” says Mr Matsuura. “Water supplies are falling while the demand is dramatically growing at an unsustainable rate. Over the next 20 years, the average supply of water world-wide per person is expected to drop by a third.”

Despite widely available evidence of the crisis, political commitment to reverse these trends has been lacking. A string of international conferences over the past 25 years has focused on the great variety of water issues including ways to provide the basic water supply and sanitation services required in the years to come. Several targets have been set to improve water management but “hardly any”, says the report, “have been met.”

The UN World Water Development Report just released!: International Year of Freshwater 2003

Our world in 2050 has more than 20 cities with populations of more than 40 million, yet cannot supply fresh water or dispose of the sewage, for even a tenth of that number.

hackwriters.com - The World in 2050? - A future prediction revisited - Sam North

#2 LJP07

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Posted 24 December 2006 - 04:57 AM

Comically, we may get water from the following link in another sense:

LiveScience.com - Arctic Summer Could be Ice-Free by 2040

This even suggests that Polar Bears will not be seen in the Arctic Summer of 2040, quite shocking if true. This also may have profound effects on the level of water, I'll be in late fifties at the time anyway.

#3 gribbon

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 03:08 PM

I read a study that claimed that even for the U.S, it would be perfectly economically feasible to desalinate all the water that was needed, providing nuclear power was used.....

#4 Michaelangelica

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 10:33 PM

I read a study that claimed that even for the U.S, it would be perfectly economically feasible to desalinate all the water that was needed, providing nuclear power was used.....

Economically feasable for who?
How much would it cost?
Oil may be cheaper than water by 2050!

Re North Pole. A very big ice sheet droped off a few days ago.
Where will santa go?

This looks interesting, haven't listened yet, as not on line 'till after 7 Jan

BIG IDEAS - Not a drop to drink
Sunday 7 January, 5pm
In the third of our Big Ideas series of summer science we fast forward to
the year 2056 and consider the future of one of our most precious natural
resources, water.
Key industry people, politicians, journalists, researchers and environmentalists including Malcolm Turnbull, Ian Lowe, Peter Cullen and Ticky Fullerton consider the scenario of an Australia without water.
A hypothetical style event led by science presenter Bernie
Hobbs.

Big Ideas

#5 Racoon

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 10:46 PM

We could start by quit polluting water

#6 TheBigDog

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 11:35 PM

I hope water becomes as valuable as oil. Seeing how I live on Lake Erie, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, I will be rolling in dough! Woo Hoo!

Bill

#7 hallenrm

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Posted 31 December 2006 - 11:43 PM

From the sewage water treatment plants, of course!

There may not be any viable economical alternatives, I believe

For example see this article in New Scientist, it is titled pee cycling:

Pee-cycling - earth - 20 December 2006 - New Scientist Environment

#8 maikeru

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 03:53 AM

We could start by quit polluting water

We would need better agricultural techniques to prevent fertilizer and pesticide run-off, manufacturing and industrial protocols in place, etc. That would be a good start.

Also, I'm against the idea of using nuclear power to provide cheap energy to desalinate water which was mentioned in another post. I live in a western state of the US where politicians want to bury nuclear waste. Our state has a fast growing population and the scenery here is breathtaking and quite a bit of it is still unspoiled. Why would we want to contaminate the ground and put countless future generations at risk? Why do they want our deserts, mountains, and forests to glow at night? Surely, there must be a better way.

#9 Michaelangelica

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 11:19 PM

From the sewage water treatment plants, of course!

Can you believe that a recent vote on this in Queensland voted against re-cycled water!!
And this in the second driest (after Antarctica!) continent in the world !!??

This looks promising
Although I wonder if solar distillation is not the answer especially in such a sunny country as Australia.
UCLA Engineering: News Center

Today’s Seawater is Tomorrow’s Drinking Water:
UCLA Engineers Develop Nanotech Water Desal Membrane

Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science today announced they have developed a new reverse osmosis (RO) membrane that promises to reduce the cost of seawater desalination and waste water reclamation.

Reverse osmosis desalination uses extremely high pressure to force saline or polluted waters through the pores of a semi-permeable membrane. Water molecules under pressure pass through these pores, but salt ions and other impurities cannot, resulting in highly purified water.

--

Next Generation
Water Purification Technology

Freshwater scarcity is a worldwide issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that half the world’s population will face water shortages by 2025.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), projects water shortages for 36 states by 2013. With only 2.5% of the water on the globe freshwater, supplies are limited.
. . .
However, based on decades-old membrane technology, RO remains quite expensive in part because it uses large amounts of energy.

Incorporated in late 2005, NanoH2O, LLC, is an early stage company developing a new generation of RO membranes for water reuse and desalination. Based on groundbreaking research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), these membranes leverage the benefits of nanotechnology to improve dramatically the baseline economics of desalination and water reuse without having to reinvest in a new technology platform or alter current operational techniques.

http://www.nanoh2o.net/home.html

#10 Monomer

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 06:52 PM

We should be recycling water, especially here in Oz, the driest drought-prone continent. Adelaide recycles about 11% of its water and Sydney only 3%, but I heard that London recycles 80%. Most people against recycling are largely uninformed, but have already consumed recycled water without knowing. I think recycling needs to start with industry where water usage/waste is huge compared to household usage/waste.

#11 Michaelangelica

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Posted 02 January 2007 - 08:31 PM

Most people against recycling are largely uninformed,

The vote in Queensland was a terrible blow to re-cycling. The opponents said things like "Do you want to drink water from the morgue or some-one's toilet bowl?"
If they only knew how many bugs, in each sq M of soil, the water from rain passes through.
Then again the vote was from our intellectually challenged brothers in the Deep North. I remember some of the crazy arguments they made against Daylight Saving. The funniest was a woman who rang into a radio station very concerned and worried. She was upset that with daylight saving her husband would now get his Morning Erection on the bus ! (I kid you not)
Your situation in Adelaide must be dire,(as it is in my local area) seeing every other State gets to take what water they want from the Murry-Darling first. Is that why you can eat your beer?
I would still like to see cheap, passive solar desalination systems explored here. Perhaps then we could top up the MD rivers in Queenland for you?!
(Someone from the Eyre peninsular got $60,000 or so from the Fedral government a few years ago to market a solar desalinator. Have you heard anything about it?) #12 Monomer Monomer Explaining • Members • 748 posts Posted 04 January 2007 - 08:53 PM Then again the vote was from our intellectually challenged brothers in the Deep North. I remember some of the crazy arguments they made against Daylight Saving. The funniest was a woman who rang into a radio station very concerned and worried. She was upset that with daylight saving her husband would now get his Morning Erection on the bus ! (I kid you not) That's the funniest thing I've read today. Cracked me up! The heat has well and truly got to them. Your situation in Adelaide must be dire,(as it is in my local area) seeing every other State gets to take what water they want from the Murry-Darling first. Is that why you can eat your beer? We're up to level 3 water restrictions, so sprinklers only 1 day a week and hoses any day before 8am and after 8pm. Mind you, I can still water my garden for six hours a day if I want. I think the restrictions will help somewhat, but it's only a band-aid solution. I read in the paper that the next step for us, if water usage hasn't decreased, will be reducing the water pressure so we can only get a drink and maybe brush our teeth. No showers. But they really need to think long-term. I'm actually concerned about our water for the future. We're bound for many more droughts, and our population just keeps increasing. One good thing they've implemented is water recycling capabilities in new homes that are being built, but I'm not sure if people are obligated to have that. As for our beer... I don't drink, or eat it, but I know Adelaidians who opt for the Victorian varieties. (Someone from the Eyre peninsular got$60,000 or so from the Fedral government a few years ago to market a solar desalinator. Have you heard anything about it?)

I haven't heard about that. I did a google search and found these:
Radio Australia - Innovations - News-In-Brief - Solar Desalination
Jennifer Marohasy: What About Water Desalination?
frameset

#13 gribbon

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:17 AM

FuturePundit: May 2006 Archives

Lazy people who can't be bothered to read links, (eh, Boersun?; ) here it is...

(Long copyrighted text deleted, ban warning given. Tormod)

#14 Pyrotex

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 10:25 AM

My personal belief is there is NOT going to be any magic source of fresh water for the additional Billion people expected over the next 40 years. Desalinization still requires a huge amount of power, and solar-desal may never get much beyond the laboratory prototype stage--it won't scale up.

So, what will happen? Clue: a small charred portion of a history book fell through a warp in the Space-Time continuum last year, here in Texas, from the 22nd Century. It calls the years from 2040 to 2090, the "Great Dying Time".

Have fun, kiddies!

#15 Buffy

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:19 AM

...a small charred portion of a history book fell through a warp in the Space-Time continuum last year, here in Texas, from the 22nd Century. It calls the years from 2040 to 2090, the "Great Dying Time".

Boy, are those wormholes useful!

I have to laugh when people say "what do you mean we're running out of room? there's all that open land!" Not to be Malthusian or anything, but is it really hard to grasp the notion that there's a certain amount of open space that it takes to support a human? Does anyone really believe that with enough technology we can populate right up to the point where there's 0.2 square meters of land for every human (The Matrix! )???

Even if we could, are you sure you'd *want* to?

Go forth and multiply,
Buffy

#16 ronthepon

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:51 AM

The environmental carrying capacity for has been streched quite a lot already in our regard, it is indeed a matter of time before our population reaches either a forced constant magnitude. Hopefully it won't crash, seeing that the diseases won't be the reason.

When the land ran out, people built skyscrapers. When the water ran out, people recycled pee.

Hey I'm too young to die! (Self conciousness... -sigh- what a pity it exists) I'd rather ask for a demographic transition .

That's the solution.

But seeing that water conservaton is a more immediate goal, where indeed shall it come from? And who's gonna do something about it?
Supposing we did get a source for water, how long is it before even that source proves to be deficient for the ever increasing human population?
And - hell - to whom am I addressing these questions to???

God, reality bites.

#17 TheBigDog

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:51 PM

All solutions are short term unless there is a radical change in population. There is more capacity on the earth than we realize, but we cannot have people living where supplies are not available. Distribution, not supply is the biggest issue.

Bill