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Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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The real challenge

I am, as a few here may have guessed, not persuaded that "global warming" is a significant problem for the future of the planet or the human race.

 

But another problem IS -- the problem of fresh water.  

 

I've been concerned about this for some time, but an article in the International Herald Tribune (which is the global edition of the New York Times, hardly a minor or right wing media source) provided some facts that made even me start.

 

Did you know that it takes between 4,000 and 9,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of biofuel?  Zowie.  This is water that can't be used to grow food to feed people.

 

How much water does it take to feed people?  Between about 670 and 1400 gallons to produce the caloric input needed by one person for one day. 

 

Wein the industrialized West have basically viewed water as a limitless and low cost resource.  But for much of the world, water is already in short supply, and  the problem will only get worse.  IMO it is much more important to change our approach toward water than toward Carbon Dioxide.  But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The real challenge

Eman, I honestly admit I don't know much about this subject of biofuels.  But some things do come to my mind, as far as the use of water, and water conservation is concerned, and types of irrigation systems.  In watering these plants, if it's done with underground drip systems, you do put the water back into the ground water table, with a minimum of evaporation.  A lot of these states grow these crops, in which they depend on natural rain to do their irrigating.  Dry crop farming is one way to by-pass this issue.  I'd put the URL up on the subject, but I can't condense it down.  I just Goggled Dry Crop Farming..it was the first article that came up. 

 

I think there is also a way to leach out salt from water, which could be a possible way to use the sea for this purpose of irrigation.  Anyway, just a couple of other thoughts along this water situation/problem.  I know nothing is simple, but everything should be looked at, before we jump head on into these long term plans.

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The real challenge

I think there is also a way to leach out salt from water, which could be a possible way to use the sea for this purpose of irrigation.

 

Yes, there is a way to do this.  Many ships use desalinization (desal) to produce fresh water, especially military ships on long deployments.  There are small scale desal plants available -- there is on in my island serving a small development of erhaps fifteen homes, and several of the smaller outer islands which are too rocky to be able to drill wells cost effectively (if you could even get drilling equipment to and on them, which is a real challenge for islands that are effectively rock mounds without beache areas to land heavy equipment or ways to get it up to drilling sites) use desal (sometimes powered by diesel generators if you can't get electrical lines to them.)   

 

The problem is that the salt has to go back into the ocean (the normal practice, at least here, is that you pull out lots of water, take the salt out of it, and send the salt back in with much of the water, keeping a fairly small percentage of the water as desalinated water), creating higher salinity at the point where the saltier water is discharged.   This is not a problem with small scale desal plants, but if you try to do large scale desalinization, it can have very harmful effects on the environment, killing much of the marine life in the area.  So you can't use desal for generating the amount of fresh water that a large farm or city needs. 

 

I believe that Israel also uses desal for some of its water supply.  I don't know whether they have addressed or solved this problem, or whether they just discharge the higher salinity water back into the Mediterranean and don't worry about it.  

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: The real challenge : World water shortages

But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

The world water shortage may not be getting prominent attention in the US because you were not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol Agreement of 1997, which contained a declaration on water.  Elsewhere in the developed world governments, together with private companies, are doing quite a lot about it. In Europe many households now have water meters and we are actively encouraged to use less water by various propaganda methods.  More water is being recycled and old water treatment plants are being rebuilt to become more efficient.  Here is a discussion from Australia showing how they are trying to meet their Kyoto targets on water. Canada is addressing problems in the Great Lakes region. The influential American Geophysical Union sees these shortages as linked to the problem of global warming and CO2 emissions.

The UN has been warning about it for many years.  Because of the worldwide shortage water has been called 'the new oil' and it is thought that water shortages may provoke wars
Here is a world map showing where shortages are occurring.

 

 

 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I am, as a few here may have guessed, not persuaded that "global warming" is a significant problem for the future of the planet or the human race.

 

But another problem IS -- the problem of fresh water.  

 

I've been concerned about this for some time, but an article in the International Herald Tribune (which is the global edition of the New York Times, hardly a minor or right wing media source) provided some facts that made even me start.

 

Did you know that it takes between 4,000 and 9,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of biofuel?  Zowie.  This is water that can't be used to grow food to feed people.

 

How much water does it take to feed people?  Between about 670 and 1400 gallons to produce the caloric input needed by one person for one day. 

 

Wein the industrialized West have basically viewed water as a limitless and low cost resource.  But for much of the world, water is already in short supply, and  the problem will only get worse.  IMO it is much more important to change our approach toward water than toward Carbon Dioxide.  But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

 

 


 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: The real challenge : Desalination.

I think there is also a way to leach out salt from water, which could be a possible way to use the sea for this purpose of irrigation.

 

 

Desalination is an expensive way of producing water Kathy and badly affects marine life. 

 

 

 


KathyS wrote:

Eman, I honestly admit I don't know much about this subject of biofuels.  But some things do come to my mind, as far as the use of water, and water conservation is concerned, and types of irrigation systems.  In watering these plants, if it's done with underground drip systems, you do put the water back into the ground water table, with a minimum of evaporation.  A lot of these states grow these crops, in which they depend on natural rain to do their irrigating.  Dry crop farming is one way to by-pass this issue.  I'd put the URL up on the subject, but I can't condense it down.  I just Goggled Dry Crop Farming..it was the first article that came up. 

 

I think there is also a way to leach out salt from water, which could be a possible way to use the sea for this purpose of irrigation.  Anyway, just a couple of other thoughts along this water situation/problem.  I know nothing is simple, but everything should be looked at, before we jump head on into these long term plans.


 

Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: The real challenge : Saving water.

On a personal level, we can all help to conserve water by placing a brick or a bottle of water in our toilet cistern or, if we are installing a new bathroom, by having a smaller, modern cistern installed.  This US website shows ways to save water in other parts of the houseWhether or not the world water shortage is caused by global warming, these are ways we can all be less wasteful of the world's resources and, especially in the present economic climate, save money.

  

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The real challenge : World water shortages

In Europe many households now have water meters and we are actively encouraged to use less water by various propaganda methods.

 

Most US cities that I'm aware of have been metering water for decades at least.  Is it really new to much of Europe?  Amazing. 

 

We have mandated low flush toilets for all new and remodeled construction; you can't even buy a full flush toilet any more.  We have had lawn watering bans in many cities when things get bad. And on and on.

 

But all these efforts are pretty much insignificant.  With agriculture taking about 70% of the world's fresh water supplies, and industry taking another large bite, the homeowner's use is not where the fight is going to be won or lost.  

 


Choisya wrote:

But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

The world water shortage may not be getting prominent attention in the US because you were not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol Agreement of 1997, which contained a declaration on water.  Elsewhere in the developed world governments, together with private companies, are doing quite a lot about it. In Europe many households now have water meters and we are actively encouraged to use less water by various propaganda methods.  More water is being recycled and old water treatment plants are being rebuilt to become more efficient.  Here is a discussion from Australia showing how they are trying to meet their Kyoto targets on water. Canada is addressing problems in the Great Lakes region. The influential American Geophysical Union sees these shortages as linked to the problem of global warming and CO2 emissions.

The UN has been warning about it for many years.  Because of the worldwide shortage water has been called 'the new oil' and it is thought that water shortages may provoke wars
Here is a world map showing where shortages are occurring.

 

 

 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I am, as a few here may have guessed, not persuaded that "global warming" is a significant problem for the future of the planet or the human race.

 

But another problem IS -- the problem of fresh water.  

 

I've been concerned about this for some time, but an article in the International Herald Tribune (which is the global edition of the New York Times, hardly a minor or right wing media source) provided some facts that made even me start.

 

Did you know that it takes between 4,000 and 9,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of biofuel?  Zowie.  This is water that can't be used to grow food to feed people.

 

How much water does it take to feed people?  Between about 670 and 1400 gallons to produce the caloric input needed by one person for one day. 

 

Wein the industrialized West have basically viewed water as a limitless and low cost resource.  But for much of the world, water is already in short supply, and  the problem will only get worse.  IMO it is much more important to change our approach toward water than toward Carbon Dioxide.  But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Inspired Contributor
Choisya
Posts: 10,782
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The real challenge : World water shortages

[ Edited ]

Mainland Europe have had water meters longer than the UK.  Our water and sewerage systems date back to Victorian times and much of the delay in installing meters has been due to the large scale reconstruction of sewerage and water systems being undertaken since the 1970s.  Also, the UK has been a very wet country - we do not have the equivalent of Florida or California - so the need to conserve water has not been felt until recently.  We have the same regulations when it comes to building new homes/offices and restrictions on watering gardens are put in place most summers.  Most toilets sold now have a high and low flush button - sometimes a high flush is necessary!

 

I think it is considered that homeowners can make a significant difference but of course farmers need to use less water too and perhaps to grow foods which need less water.  Should we still be growing/buying pumpkins, marrows, melons etc which have little food value, for instance.  Gardeners and allotment holders here are already being encouraged to grow plants which need less watering and the Victorian floral bedding schemes so beloved by the English, are being phased out in favour of Mediterranean type gardens.  Objections to installing water meters are often put up by gardeners whose bedding displays, baskets etc. would be spoilt if they were rationed by the money they could spend on water but they are now having to 'bite the bullet'. 

 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

In Europe many households now have water meters and we are actively encouraged to use less water by various propaganda methods.

 

Most US cities that I'm aware of have been metering water for decades at least.  Is it really new to much of Europe?  Amazing. 

 

We have mandated low flush toilets for all new and remodeled construction; you can't even buy a full flush toilet any more.  We have had lawn watering bans in many cities when things get bad. And on and on.

 

But all these efforts are pretty much insignificant.  With agriculture taking about 70% of the world's fresh water supplies, and industry taking another large bite, the homeowner's use is not where the fight is going to be won or lost.  

 


Choisya wrote:

But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

The world water shortage may not be getting prominent attention in the US because you were not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol Agreement of 1997, which contained a declaration on water.  Elsewhere in the developed world governments, together with private companies, are doing quite a lot about it. In Europe many households now have water meters and we are actively encouraged to use less water by various propaganda methods.  More water is being recycled and old water treatment plants are being rebuilt to become more efficient.  Here is a discussion from Australia showing how they are trying to meet their Kyoto targets on water. Canada is addressing problems in the Great Lakes region. The influential American Geophysical Union sees these shortages as linked to the problem of global warming and CO2 emissions.

The UN has been warning about it for many years.  Because of the worldwide shortage water has been called 'the new oil' and it is thought that water shortages may provoke wars
Here is a world map showing where shortages are occurring.

 

 

 

 

 


Everyman wrote:

I am, as a few here may have guessed, not persuaded that "global warming" is a significant problem for the future of the planet or the human race.

 

But another problem IS -- the problem of fresh water.  

 

I've been concerned about this for some time, but an article in the International Herald Tribune (which is the global edition of the New York Times, hardly a minor or right wing media source) provided some facts that made even me start.

 

Did you know that it takes between 4,000 and 9,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of biofuel?  Zowie.  This is water that can't be used to grow food to feed people.

 

How much water does it take to feed people?  Between about 670 and 1400 gallons to produce the caloric input needed by one person for one day. 

 

Wein the industrialized West have basically viewed water as a limitless and low cost resource.  But for much of the world, water is already in short supply, and  the problem will only get worse.  IMO it is much more important to change our approach toward water than toward Carbon Dioxide.  But what action are world governments taking?  None that are gaining prominent attention.  

 

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 10-19-2008 01:05 PM
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The real challenge : World water shortages

I think all of these changes are good, and great!  From toilet flushes, to draught tolerant plants, which is a big concern, here in the Inland Empire of So. Calif.  Our municipal water company has free lectures offered to the public, by private citizens, addressing all of these issues.  A friend of mine, who once owned a nursery, gives regular talks on effective landscaping, and  the kinds plants that can be grown in these semi-arid areas. 

 

What's interesting, at least to me, is that our deserts actually have more underground water supplies in them, than where I live in the semi-arid climate.  There is more rain fall in the desert regions, in the summer months.  These desert oasis, such as Palm Springs, have more green golf courses than anywhere else!

 

Even if the private sector of these changes are 'small potatoes' (compared to water needs in agricultural areas), it makes us all aware, on a personal level, that there is a need for change.  That's exactly where we need to start looking, within our own usage of this natural resource!

 

With the discussion of saline in water:  I was thinking about the state of Utah, since I had once lived there.  The Great Salt lake had two commercial resources that I saw.  One was to use the salt, as the Morton Salt Co., had.  This use of the salt was great for a company to create jobs, and provide a product that was needed for the public, boosting economy.   And I think Borax was also a by-product. Also, brine shrimp lives in this salt environment.  Another commodity for the consumer.   Sea Salt is a great byproduct, also.  So, maybe we should think about  all of these things?  How can we create jobs with these byproducts in this time of  need?  Just a thought. 

Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The real challenge : World water shortages

What's interesting, at least to me, is that our deserts actually have more underground water supplies in them, than where I live in the semi-arid climate.  There is more rain fall in the desert regions, in the summer months.  These desert oasis, such as Palm Springs, have more green golf courses than anywhere else!

 

Do you have sources to support these points?  Yes, the Ogallala Aquifer has a lot of underground water, but we're rapidly drawing it down much faster than it can recharge.  And Palm Spring's golf courses are living on borrowed water which is making the land subside because it is being drawn down much aster thanit is being recharged.

 

Almost all the water in the Colorado River is being diverted for human use; the river that once gushed into Mexico is now no more than a trickle, if that.  

 

I don't know where you live, but Palm Springs has an annual average rainfall of only 5.8 inches, well below most areas of the US.  (New York City gets about 45 inches.)

 


KathyS wrote:

I think all of these changes are good, and great!  From toilet flushes, to draught tolerant plants, which is a big concern, here in the Inland Empire of So. Calif.  Our municipal water company has free lectures offered to the public, by private citizens, addressing all of these issues.  A friend of mine, who once owned a nursery, gives regular talks on effective landscaping, and  the kinds plants that can be grown in these semi-arid areas. 

 

What's interesting, at least to me, is that our deserts actually have more underground water supplies in them, than where I live in the semi-arid climate.  There is more rain fall in the desert regions, in the summer months.  These desert oasis, such as Palm Springs, have more green golf courses than anywhere else!

 

Even if the private sector of these changes are 'small potatoes' (compared to water needs in agricultural areas), it makes us all aware, on a personal level, that there is a need for change.  That's exactly where we need to start looking, within our own usage of this natural resource!

 

With the discussion of saline in water:  I was thinking about the state of Utah, since I had once lived there.  The Great Salt lake had two commercial resources that I saw.  One was to use the salt, as the Morton Salt Co., had.  This use of the salt was great for a company to create jobs, and provide a product that was needed for the public, boosting economy.   And I think Borax was also a by-product. Also, brine shrimp lives in this salt environment.  Another commodity for the consumer.   Sea Salt is a great byproduct, also.  So, maybe we should think about  all of these things?  How can we create jobs with these byproducts in this time of  need?  Just a thought. 


 

  

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.