Will cities ever get smart about water use?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by travisjhake, May 9, 2013.

  1. travisjhake Registered Member

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    That’s the conclusion from a new study in the journal Water Policy, whose authors compared the water supply histories of four cities — San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Adelaide, Australia. Among the lessons learned? Urban water conservation, recycling, and desalination aren’t silver bullets. In fact, the best solution may lie upstream with farmers — saving just 5-10 percent of agricultural irrigation in upstream watersheds could satisfy a city’s entire water needs.

    But the time to act is now, argues Brian Richter, a senior freshwater scientist at The Nature Conservancy and the study’s lead author — he says a global urban water crisis is already here. Below, Richter tells us more about what cities need to do to say on the right side of dry.


    Q. Many cities take a similar pattern of water development, according to your research – going from exhausting local surface and groundwater supplies to importing water to implementing water conservation to finally recycling water or desalination. Why is this pattern unsustainable?

    Q. Are we looking at a crisis in securing urban water supplies in the near future, either for U.S. cities or globally?
     
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  3. andy1033 Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

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    I agree its one of those things that humans as a whole should of done by now. Be able to cheaply turn sea water into drinking water. They say desalination is too expensive, but why humans have not spent alot of time trying to find a perfect way to clean water is beyond me. Maybe they have and they keep it to themselves, for one day they may be a different world, and they are keeping that techs for that world.

    But i agree why have humans not answered this question yet, when it seems to be the most important one of all.

    Maybe they do not want places like africa livable, and they keep techs that could make anywhere on this planet livable away from the public.
     
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  5. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

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    Laws , in America, have been made that forces manufacturers to only make water efficient things they manufacture today. As an example all toilets can only use 1.5 gallons of water to flush with in residential homes. There are also devices which restrict water flow in faucets as well. There are improvements being made daily in many areas of water reduction so there are things being done, in America, which reflect the need to better use water.

    As for making cleaner water that too is being addressed as new techniques are being developed to insure safe and clean potable water is being used by all citizens of America. Many other countries are following suit and trying to do the right thing because they to will be in problems witheir own drinking water if they don't.
     
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  7. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Another solution is cities without sufficient water resources, should not continue to expand. City expansion should be connected to available water so it does not lead to secondary problems, like impacting food supplies. There are lot of good locations with water so why continue to build in the desert and then try to steal water from people who were there first?
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    How do you implement this in reality? A ban on selling undeveloped property? A ban on new building? Government takeover of remaining undeveloped private property? Any way you look at it, that's a lot of power to give the government - and a huge impact on an area economy.

    I'd prefer to just let the free market do its thing. Price water what it costs, and let the city develop (or not) as it sees fit.
     
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    They have spent decades and billions of dollars trying to desalinate water. Even the best methods take energy we do not have.

    Or maybe Africans can't afford it and San Diegans can.

    However, if you want to make a difference, fund a few Slingshots. Slingshots are water distillation devices designed by DEKA as an attempt to make the cheapest, smallest distillers possible; they are run om Stirling engines and can be powered by anything that burns (wood, dung, trash.) They are about $100K a piece and provide enough drinking water for a small village (100 people.)
     
  10. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

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    We could easily have the energy if we wanted it. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Recyclers can operate efficiently with Brayton cycle generators. BCGs release heat at high enough temperatures to efficiently distill water thru MED; energy and water too! Such a deal!
     
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    . . . are the answer to every possible problem! Power "too cheap to meter."
     
  12. theDoctor Registered Member

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    I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. The truth is, fairly soon we will reach a significant energy surplus it is impossible to think of any other outcome. If you look at how much energy can be produced by renewable energy you can clearly see that they out perform all of our imaginable energy needs or desires, so as far as water consumption goes we will be able to desalinize all of the water we need. It is only a matter of how long oil companies try to milk their profits and how long people will allow that greed to happen.
     

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